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Disease May Derail Space Travel

Researchers at Nancy University in Lorraine, France have raised concerns that disease will make it impossible to support long-term space travel such as manned missions to Mars. Space travel both weakens the immune system and promotes more virulent growth of bacteria, a potentially deadly combina... Read More

Study Uncovers Optimal Ecology of Bioinsecticide

BBSRC-funded researchers at the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London have discovered that the commonly used and naturally occurring bacterial insecticide Bt works best if applied to young plants and is enhanced by the presence of the insect pests.

The research is publi... Read More

TWiV 83 letters

PJ writes:


TWiV gets weird


Well, not really weird, but allow me some criticism:


I just listened to the "Darwin gets weird" episode, which was again a real treat! Thinking about Prions as non-mendelian inheritance factors seems logical, albeit the quest... Read More

TWiV 83: An hour with Dr. Kiki



On episode #83 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, Rich, and special guest Dr. Kirsten Sanford talk about her career in science media, then consider whether smallpox eradication led to the AI... Read More

Watercolor Bacteria and Cell Art

Washington, DC artist Michele Banks, aka Artologica, is a painter who, in her own words, "uses an old and often-disrespected medium, watercolor, to create pieces that are anything but old-fashioned." Her works in Makers Market focus on biological and medical themes, particularly the microscopy o... Read More

Dengue fever now seems to be our disease too

Dengue fever only seems like a disease that happens in other countries. Key West, Fla., had 27 cases last year, and another last month.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a look at the first three of these cases in its current Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.... Read More

Human Gene Catalog Shows It's Mostly a Mystery

They live in us and on us, helping digest food and keeping acne at bay, and researchers said on Thursday that most of these germs are turning out to be new to science.

The first look at 178 different microbes that live in or on the human body shows that more than 90 percent of their genetic s... Read More

CDC: public pools often harbor harmful bacteria

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1 in 8 public swimming pools is in violation of health and safety codes — and that pools at day care centers and children's facilities seem to be the most frequent offenders. The findings, based on an analysis of m... Read More

Salmonella outbreak in 10 states prompts sprouts recall

Federal public health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak that has infected 22 people in 10 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

The infections are linked to the consumption of raw alfalfa sprouts, the CDC said.

California-based Caldwell Fr... Read More

US oil spill explained ~ Microbiology & Bacteria

13-year-old Jonathan Lee asked scientists about the possible after effects from the Gulf oil spill. He wants to learn what could happen and share that information with others in an effort to help with the cleanup. Read More

An sRNA controls a bacterium's social life

For the first time, biologists have directly shown how spontaneous mutation of a small RNA (sRNA) regulatory molecule can provide an evolutionary advantage. Reporting in this week's Science, Indiana University Bloomington scientists also identify the sRNA as a key regulator of social behavior in... Read More

Human Microbiome Project: Diversity of Human Microbes Greater Than Previously Predicted

The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) has published an analysis of 178 genomes from microbes that live in or on the human body. The researchers discovered novel genes and proteins that serve functions in human health and disease, adding a new level of understanding to what is known about the comple... Read More

What's cooking in your oven mitts might make you lose your appetite

Tonight we have results of an 8 On Your Side investigation into a household item that could make your family sick. Oven mitts and hot pads are a necessary culinary tool but we found most people rarely clean the accessories that come in close contact with your food. 8 On Your Side Reporter Chris ... Read More

Everyone Rowing in the Same Direction

Is there such a thing as an obligatorily multicellular prokaryote? Merry Youle of the Small Things Considered blog reviews a recent paper published in the May issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology that announces the finding of a new subgroup within magnetotactic multicellular prokaryot... Read More

Scientist Makes Synthetic Life

Dr Craig Venter says his researchers built a DNA strand from scratch and inserted it into a simple bacterium, creating so-called synthetic life.

Applications of the study include the manufacture of organisms designed for specific tasks, such as making vaccines or cleaning up pollution.

A r... Read More

Researchers Say They Created a ‘Synthetic Cell’

The genome pioneer J. Craig Venter has taken another step in his quest to create synthetic life by synthesizing an entire bacterial genome and using it to take over a cell.

Dr. Venter calls the result a “synthetic cell” and is presenting the research as a landmark achievement that will open ... Read More

Soil bacteria trials show yield increases in wheat

Growers could save 50-100kg/ha of nitrogen by applying friendly bugs to wheat crops, according to research carried out by Masstock as part of a European programme.

The firm had been testing various soil bacteria for their ability to either increase yields or replace nitrogen as part of the R... Read More

Eradication of smallpox may have set the stage for HIV pandemic, study says

The worldwide eradication of smallpox in the mid-20th century was a remarkable public health achievement, but it may have set the stage for the HIV pandemic of the latter half of the century, researchers reported Tuesday.

Laboratory tests suggest that immunity to smallpox triggered by the vac... Read More

Thousands of new drug leads identified in the fight against malaria

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is behind a majority of those deaths. Although newer drug combinations (of artemisinins) proved effective after resistance to widely used treatments appeared, hints of resistance to this ne... Read More

Unexpectedly High Rate of Multiple Strains in Fungal Infection

New research shows that nearly 1 in 5 cases of infection with the potentially deadly fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are caused by not one but multiple strains of the pathogen. Researchers from the Institut Pasteur and the University of Minnesota Medical School report their findings in the inaugu... Read More

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