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Should We Destroy Our Last Living Samples of the Virus That Causes Smallpox?

This month the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet to decide whether or not to destroy the last living strains of the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Since the WHO declared the disease eradicated in 1979, the scientific community has debated whether or not to destroy live virus sampl... Read More

Stanford bioengineer develops a 50-cent paper microscope

The Foldscope is a fully functional microscope that can be laser- or die-cut out of paper for around 50 cents.

This bookmark-sized microscope can be assembled in minutes, includes no mechanical moving parts, packs in a flat configuration, is extremely rugged and can be incinerated after to s... Read More

When Will We Have a Vaccine for Ebola Virus?

The latest outbreak of Ebola virus in west Africa is the worst ever—as of Monday, it had infected more than 1,200 people and claimed at least 672 victims since this spring. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone all have confirmed cases. An official at Doctors Without Borders has declared the outbreak... Read More

Hijacking bacteria's natural defences to trap and reveal pathogens

Bad bacteria could soon have no place left to hide, thanks to new materials that turn the cell’s own defences against them.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham and GSK Consumer Healthcare have developed a technique that could locate the potential source of an infection by hijacking the... Read More

TWiV 288: ebircsnart esreveR

The Twivsters discuss how reverse transcriptase encoded in the human genome might produce DNA copies of RNA viruses in infected cells.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Scientists Build a Yeast Chromosome From Scratch. Next Up? Designer Genomes

Creating synthetic organisms with specially-tailored genomes is a long way off, but the first synthetic eukaryotic chromosome is a big step forward.

Humans have been using what they know about the biological world to make stuff for centuries—from beer to antibiotics. But, what if you could ma... Read More

What Gut Bacteria Might Have To Do With Colorectal Cancer Risk

While genetics likely play a role in some instances of colorectal cancer, a new study in mice suggests gut bacteria could also influence development of intestinal tumors. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that giving antibiotics to mice to disrupt their microbial... Read More

Mycobacteriophages: Windows into Tuberculosis

Mycobacteriophages are viruses that infect mycobacterial hosts, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis. Mycobacteriophages display a remarkable genetic diversity. About 30 distinct types (called clusters, or singletons if they have no relatives) that share little or no nu... Read More

Paint a virus to death

An Auckland scientist has invented molecules that can attach themselves to any surface in a few minutes and modify every type of cell or virus. The potential for the technology is huge - from attacking cancer cells to protecting newborn babies. Read More

On a Cellular Level, We Are ALL Overachievers!

In this blog post, I show a science-cartoon by the great "Beatrice the Biologist" that illustrates an important point in my freshman introductory cell and molecular biology course: no matter how tired we might be, we are incredibly busy on a cellular level! Beatrice is a fine artist who underst... Read More

Bacteria Proposed for Passaic River Superfund Site Cleanup

A decades long fight over cleaning up one of the nation's most contaminated riverbeds has posed a difficult question: how to safely remove enough toxic material from New Jersey's Passaic River to fill two MetLife Stadiums.

The federal government is moving forward with long-stalled efforts to ... Read More

Scientists create accurate predictor of the next year’s flu virus

Influenza viruses evolve rapidly, making it hard to develop protective vaccines against them. Despite a great deal of effort, scientists have found it difficult to forecast which way the virus’ evolution would take it. Now, thanks to improvements in our ability to study viruses and a new mathema... Read More

Microbe/Mineral Affinities

This is a paper from the Geomicrobiology lab at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. It was recently published in a special issue of Geomicrobiology Journal focused on geomicrobiology of subsurface microorganisms in cave environments.

In this study we attemp... Read More

Parvo Trial Shows Promising Results In Effort To Combat Puppy Virus

A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies.

Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven U.S. states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 ... Read More

Ebola Virus: A Grim, African Reality

There’s nothing like an outbreak of Ebola virus disease to bring a small, struggling African nation to international notice. One week we couldn’t place it on a map; the next week, after Ebola virus disease strikes, we know the body count and the name of the capital and whether its airport has cl... Read More

A Newly Discovered Microbe Could Accelerate Global Warming

Teaming beneath Sweden's thawing permafrost is a previously undiscovered microbe known as methanongen (Candidatus Methanoflorens Stordalenmirensis). As its name suggests, the microbe does one thing really well: release methane into the atmosphere, presenting a feedback loop of gas production tha... Read More

Ebola 101: The Facts Behind A Frightening Virus

Health workers have called the Ebola outbreak in West Africa unprecedented, overwhelming and even out of control.

With 844 cases so far, it's the largest and deadliest outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. And it doesn't show signs of slowing down. On Tuesday, the World Health Orga... Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects!

I have found that students become involved, energized, and enthusiastic when I give them opportunities to explore topics in my classes using their own creative approaches and interests. So this semester, in my Biology 111 course at the University of Puget Sound, I found that students explored f... Read More

BacterioFiles 175 - Bacteria Build Better Biofilms

This episode: Engineered bacteria can be made to produce many different useful kinds of biofilm!


(10.5 MB, 11.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item 1/ Read More

Avoid Getting Sick: Top 8 Germiest Public Places Exposed

Worried about you or your kids picking up the flu virus or other common illnesses at school, in restrooms or at the mall? There’s good reason: Viruses and bacteria run rampant on the surfaces you touch every day. We blow the lid on the 8 germiest public places and give you expert tips to avoid g... Read More
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