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New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

The most detailed analysis to date of the spread of the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as ‘swine flu’, has found that short-range travel was likely the primary driver for the 2009 pandemic in the United States, in contrast with popularly accepted views on the way diseases s... Read More

BacterioFiles 172 - Sunlight-Snackers Seize Sparks

This episode: Some photosynthetic bacteria can use electricity for their metabolism to make useful stuff too!


(9.2 MB, 10 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item 1... Read More

Scientists Show That Bacteria Can Evolve a Biological Timer to Survive Antibiotic Treatments

The ability of microorganisms to overcome antibiotic treatments is one of the top concerns of modern medicine. The effectiveness of many antibiotics has been reduced by bacteria's ability to rapidly evolve and develop strategies to resist antibiotics. Bacteria achieve this by specific mechanisms... Read More

Guo Lab Reports Finding of Revolution Biomotors in Many Bacteria and Viruses

Scientists at the University of Kentucky, led by nano-biotechnologist Peixuan Guo, have made some critical discoveries over the past year into the operation of biomotors, the molecular machines used by viruses and bacteria in the packaging of DNA.

Biomotors function similarly to mechanical mo... Read More

Research may yield new ways to treat antibiotic-resistant TB

Scientists in the United States and India have successfully modified the precursor to one of the drugs used to treat tuberculosis, an important first step toward new drugs that can transcend antibiotic resistance issues that experts consider a serious threat to global health.

The findings, re... Read More

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus

Signals from the immune system that help repel a common parasite inadvertently can cause a dormant viral infection to become active again, a new study shows.

Further research is necessary to understand the clinical significance of the finding, but researchers at Washington University School o... Read More

How deadly lassa virus infects cells

The Lassa virus, endemic to West Africa, uses an unexpected two-step process to enter cells, research has shown. The results suggest that the mechanism by which Lassa virus causes infection is more complicated than previously known, and could lead to new approaches for preventing the disease.

... Read More

Microbe, Enzyme or Mineral? A Riddle in the Soil

When most people look at soil, they just see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform... Read More

TWiV 291: Ft. Collins abuzz with virologists

Vincent, Rich, and Kathy and their guests Clodagh and Ron recorded this episode at the 33rd annual meeting of the American Society for Virology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.


Hosts: ... Read More

TWiM #81: Cold iron is the master of them all

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Slaying bacteria with their own weapons

A chemist at Washington University in St. Louis is studying siderophores, iron chelating molecules released by bacteria during an infection, with the thought of using them to design personalized antibiotic therapy that would avoid the rapid evolution of resistance that plagues antibiotic drug di... Read More

Love in the lab: Close collaborators

Romance often sparks between colleagues, and scientists are no different. Nature profiles four super-couples who have combined love and the lab.

When physicists Claudia Felser and Stuart Parkin were introduced at a conference on applied magnetics, they felt an immediate attraction. But then, ... Read More

Soil microbiomes can set plant flowering time

Scientists grew Boechera stricta plants in soil inoculated with microbes from natural B. stricta habitats to study the flowering time phenotype.

The technique researchers employed to isolate soil microbes to study their effect on a single plant phenotype can potentially be applied to other st... Read More

Lab-on-a-Chip Tracks Down 'Most Wanted' Microbe

A diagnostic tool that’s about the size of a credit card has identified a highly prized gut microbe.

The microbe contains interesting genetic sequences, but it has proven challenging to culture in the lab.

Researchers used the device, called SlipChip, to isolate microbes from a patient’s g... Read More

The truth behind the '5-Second Rule': When in doubt, throw it out

The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.

Fact or folklore?

“A dropped item is immediately contaminate... Read More

Sweet Sweet Straw

The calorie free sweetener erythritol is widely used in Asia; it is also gaining popularity in Europe and America. At the Vienna University of Technology, a new cheap method has been developed to produce erythritol from straw with the help of mould fungi.

Erythritol has many great advantages:... Read More

Virus kills triple negative breast cancer cells, tumor cells in mice

A virus not known to cause disease kills triple-negative breast cancer cells and killed tumors grown from these cells in mice, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Understanding how the virus kills cancer may lead to new treatments for breast cancer.

Adeno-associated virus... Read More

Brewing yeasts reveal secrets of chromosomal warfare and dysfunction

Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used to brew beer in Africa, whereas its clo... Read More

New material improves wound healing, keeps bacteria from sticking

As many patients know, treating wounds has become far more sophisticated than sewing stitches and applying gauze, but dressings still have shortcomings. Now scientists are reporting the next step in the evolution of wound treatment with a material that leads to faster healing than existing comme... Read More

Proof of life: Reevaluating oldest known Archean trace fossil for indications of early biology

In the hunt for early life, geobiologists seek evidence of ancient microbes in the form of trace fossils – geological records of biological activity – embedded in lavas beneath the ocean floor. Filamentous titanite (a calcium titanium silicate mineral) microtextures found in 3.45 billion-year-ol... Read More

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