I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificen... Read More
If you pull up a soybean or bean plant and shake off the dirt, you might see odd swellings or bumps, like rheumatic finger joints, on its roots. Inside the cool, soil-covered bumps are bacteria that are making nitrogen with the help of an enzyme, something chemical factories can do only with the... Read More
A boy with cystic fibrosis develops a chronic and potentially deadly Burkholderia dolosa infection in his lungs. Varieties of genetic mutations allow some strains of the bacteria to survive the dual assaults from his immune system and antibiotics, while others perish. Eventually, the strongest m... Read More
An international team of scientists from Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia has cracked the genetic code of the liver fluke parasite, Opisthorchis viverrini, using a unique DNA analysis technique developed at A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).
GIS’s DNA analysis technique ha... Read More
Whooping cough was once one of the leading killers of babies around the world. Now that it's largely controlled with a vaccine, scientists have had a chance to figure out how the disease came into being in the first place. That story is told in a study published online this week in the journal m... Read More
The age of the Anthropocene--the scientific name given to our current geologic age--is dominated by human impacts on our environment. A warming climate. Increased resistance of pathogens and pests. A swelling population. Coping with these modern global challenges requires application of what one... Read More
Researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences dug into the last 70 years of peer-reviewed publications about protozoan parasites that infest bivalve mollusks and found that when an organism can be cultured in the laboratory, more papers and greater understanding result. Senior Research S... Read More
Researchers have identified the evolutionary origins of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) -1 and -2, reporting that the former infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago while the latter jumped from ancient chimpanzees to ancestors of modern humans -- H... Read More
For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it is not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes - like humans - use planes, bikes and taxis to spread.
So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The ai... Read More
Scientists regularly tap into biological systems to find solutions for human problems. Although they work with plants and viruses in the lab, bacteria have many advantages as a starting point. When programmed in certain ways, bacteria can store data, clean dangerous waste, produce film-like imag... Read More
Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of... Read More
Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study in mBio this week. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pi... Read More
Banana lovers take note: The world's supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat. "It's a very serious situation," said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discove... Read More
Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) constitutes approximately 50% of clinical S. aureus isolates and is most commonly the result of production of a mutated pencillin-binding protein, PBP2a, which is able to carry out essential cell wall synthesis functions while maintaining a low-affinity for... Read More
Oxytricha trifallax lives in ponds all over the world. Under an electron microscope it looks like a football adorned with tassels. The tiny fringes are the cilia it uses to move around and gobble up algae. What makes Oxytricha unusual, however, is the crazy things it does with its DNA.
Unlike... Read More
A graduate student came to my office recently to say that she was increasingly bothered by anxiety and the ‘terror’ of having to speak at laboratory meetings. She had also learned a month ago that she was expected to lecture to a class organized by her mentor. The thought of having to lecture to... Read More
According to CNN,a long-range business jet with an isolation pod left the United States for Liberia, where it will evacuate two Americans infected with Ebola.
Twitter exploded with questions about the deadly virus, which according to the World Health Organization is believed to have killed hu... Read More
Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... Read More
The instructions encoded into DNA are thought to follow a universal set of rules across all domains of life. But researchers report in the May 23 issue of Science that organisms routinely break these rules.
The finding has implications for the design of synthetic life: by designing organisms ... Read More
In the United States, approximately 40,000 people die every year due to pancreatic adenocarcinoma, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer related death. Patients diagno... Read More