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How Clean Should We Be?

There's a belief that says exposing people -- especially babies and young children -- to different kinds of germs early in life can keep them from developing illnesses like asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. The theory, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” is that o... Read More

Hacking Bacteria To Do Our Bidding: Photos

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

Parallel ERV-mediated evolution of blue egg color in chickens

The delightful word 'oocyan' refers to the trait of blue-green eggshell color that occurs in native chickens of Chile (Mapuche fowl) and some of their descendants in North America and Europe, as well as certain Asian chicken breeds (e.g. Dongxiang, Lushi).

Oocyan is an autosomal dominant trai... Read More

Research identifies how bacteria produce hydrogen

Making hydrogen easily and cheaply is a dream goal for clean, sustainable energy. Bacteria have been doing exactly that for billions of years, and now chemists at the University of California, Davis, and Stanford University are revealing how they do it, and perhaps opening ways to imitate them.
... Read More

Novel vaccine approach to human cytomegalovirus found effective

An experimental vaccine against human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, which endangers the developing fetus, organ transplant recipients, patients with HIV and others who have a weakened immune system, proved safe and more effective than previous vaccines developed to prevent infection by the ub... Read More

Reduced glycopeptide and lipopeptide susceptibility in Staphylococcus aureus and the “seesaw effect”: Taking advantage of the back door left open?

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

The role of uncertainty in infectious disease modelling

The study found that many models provided only cursory reference to the uncertainties of the information and data, or the parameters used

Research by scientists at the University of Liverpool has found that greater consideration of the limitations and uncertainties in infectious disease model... Read More

This Tiny Sensor Spots Salmonella In Minutes, Not Days

A new biosensor quickly detects salmonella in food and can be easily customized to detect other types of bacteria—or even different strains for the same bacterium.

The process appears to easily outperform tests that are now standard in the food industry, according to researchers at Rice Unive... Read More

8 unusual uses for probiotics

Most of us are familiar with taking our daily probiotic supplement in the conventional way, either in capsule or powder form. It is however becoming increasingly apparent that people are discovering some weird and wonderful ways to use their probiotics, and here nutritional therapist Jo Saunders... Read More

Ancient buried treasure found in daisy seeds

By tracing the evolutionary origin of a drug-like protein ring found in sunflowers, Australian and US scientists have discovered a diverse, 18-million-year-old group of buried proteins in daisy seeds.

Researchers at The University of Western Australia, working with academics from The Universi... Read More

Neanderthal Me

From the discovery of the first Neanderthal skull in a Belgian cave in 1826, a bone of contention among Homo sapiens has been the extent of our relationship to Homo neanderthalis, who disappeared from the fossil record ~30,000 years ago. Like scrappy cousins we'd rather not claim, we've attempte... Read More

Recalling the Good in the Good Old Days

In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More

Facilitation of horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance by transformation of antibiotic-induced cell-wall-deficient bacteria

It is universally accepted that the use of antibiotics will lead to antimicrobial resistance. Traditionally, the explanation to this phenomenon was random mutation and horizontal gene transfer and amplification by selective pressure. Subsequently, a second mechanism of antibiotic-induced antimic... Read More

Reports hit Agriculture Dept. for ‘serious weaknesses’ in food inspection measures

Recent salmonella outbreaks that sickened at least 523 people and sent dozens to the hospital underscore “serious weaknesses” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s oversight of poultry plants, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also criticized the govern... Read More

Researchers open door to new HIV therapy

BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... Read More

Pictures Considered #11. Invisible Portraits: A Microbial Art Exhibit

Getting the message out to the public that the microbial world is about much more than just diseases is a challenging topic, but one we should keep trying to improve on. There are many ways to do this, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and most people don’t want to rea... Read More

How Flesh-Eating Strep Bacteria Evolved into an Epidemic

Bacteria aren’t kind enough to leave behind a fossil record (save for cyanobacteria), but they’re evolving fast. Really fast. Their short life cycles mean that generations come rapid-fire, adapting through natural selection into the monster pathogens that are currently shrugging off our finest a... Read More

Molecular mechanisms of resistance

The abilities of bacterial organisms to utilize the various strategies to resist antimicrobial compounds are all genetically encoded.

Intrinsic resistance is that type of resistance which is naturally coded and expressed by all (or almost all) strains of that particular bacterial species. An... Read More

Bacteria show surprising number of genetic paths to survival

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

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

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