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TWiM #125: A minimal cell operating system

A deep sequencing study of commercially available probiotics, and design and synthesis of a minimal bacterial genome are the topics tackled by Vincent, Michael, and Michele on this episode of TWiM.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Read More

TWiM 125 Letters

Inspired by William:


Dear TWiMers;
Greetings from Berkeley where miracle March (water-wise) was perhaps half a miracle, but that is definitely better than none. At least we will not run out of water this summer.


I found this quasi-synthetic biology result... Read More

NIH launches large clinical trials of antibody-based HIV prevention

Enrollment has begun in the first of two multinational clinical trials of an intravenously delivered investigational antibody for preventing HIV infection. Known as the AMP Studies, for antibody-mediated prevention, the trials will test whether giving people an investigational anti-HIV antibody ... Read More

Canadian innovation for killing mosquito eggs could help Zika fight

Toronto, Canada - With Canadian Government funding, a team of innovators from Canada and Mexico have successfully tested a low cost, environmentally-friendly way of destroying the eggs of the mosquito genus that spreads dengue, and likely spreading the Zika virus. Read More

Cause of Maryland Food Poisoning Outbreak Traced to Asia

Washington, DC – April 6, 2016 – Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak of food poisoning in Maryland in 2010. The pathogen strain sequenced from patients proved to be the same strain as one of those found in raw oysters from local restaurants, strong evidence that the oysters were the sourc... Read More

Targeting the Gut Microbiome to Fight Heart Disease

Washington, DC – April 5, 2016 – A compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to a new study by researchers from China. The study is published in mBio, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiol... Read More

Researchers Discover New Fish Virus that Threatens Global Tilapia Stocks

Washington, D.C.—April 5, 2016—An international team of researchers has identified a new virus that attacks wild and farmed tilipia, an important source of inexpensive protein for the world’s food supply. In work published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society ... Read More

New mouse model to aid testing of Zika vaccine, therapeutics

A research team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has established a mouse model for testing of vaccines and therapeutics to battle Zika virus. Read More

Trophoblasts resistant to Zika/Zika in the mouse

Two unrelated studies on the Zika virus--one ruling out a theory for how Zika may be passing through the human placenta and another on using mouse models to trace Zika pathogenesis--appear April 5 in Cell Host & Microbe. Read More

Targeting the gut microbiome to fight heart disease

Is the way to treat heart disease through a person's stomach? According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers have found that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause ... Read More

International Team Fishes New Virus Out of the Sea of Galilee

In 2009, fish in Israel began dying in droves. And not just any fish, but the St. Peter’s fish, tilapia in the Sea of Galilee—the fish famed in the Bible for feeding the multitudes and paying the temple tax for St. Peter.

As head of the fish disease laboratory for Israel’s Ministry of Agricul... Read More

An up-close view of bacterial 'motors'

Bacteria are the most abundant form of life on Earth, and they are capable of living in diverse habitats ranging from the surface of rocks to the insides of our intestines. Over millennia, these adaptable little organisms have evolved a variety of specialized mechanisms to move themselves throug... Read More

Promising new method inhibits TB-causing bacteria

Scientists at the The University of Queensland and the University of California San Francisco have found a new way to inhibit the growth of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Read More

Potential pathway for emergence of zoonotic malaria identified

Boston, MA - The parasite responsible for a form of malaria now spreading from macaques to humans in South Asia could evolve to infect humans more efficiently, a step towards enhanced transmission between humans, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The resear... Read More

Your viruses could reveal your travel history, and more

The genomes of two distinct strains of the virus that causes the common lip cold sore, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), have been identified within an individual person -- an achievement that could be useful to forensic scientists for tracing a person's history. The research also opens the d... Read More

Does the hologenome address the whole picture?

How do we define the genetic makeup of an individual? Is it the genetic material found in each cell of that individual (that’s not entirely accurate; mutations and recombinatorial differences can lead to multiple genomes in one individual). And what about the genes carried by our microbiome? The... Read More

BacterioFiles 246 - Prowling Protist Predator Packs

This episode: Amoebas in soil gang up on and eat much larger roundworms!


(10.5 MB, 11.3 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper
... Read More

A minimal cell operating system

If the DNA sequence of a cell is like the operating system of a computer, then the smallest cellular OS has just been written. Called Syn3.0, it encodes everything needed to make a viable, autonomously replicating cell.

Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that are the smallest known free-living... Read More

TWiV 383: A zillion Zika papers and a Brazilian


Hosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson DespommierAlan Dove and  Read More

Why neural stem cells may be vulnerable to Zika infection

Zika's hypothesized attraction to human neural stem cells may come from its ability to hijack a protein found on the surface of these cells, using it as an entryway to infection. In Cell Stem Cell on March 30, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco show that the AXL surface r... Read More
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