A University of Toronto-led team has uncovered the evolutionary ancestry of the prion gene, which may reveal new understandings of how the prion protein causes diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as "mad cow disease."
Diseased prion proteins are responsible for... Read More
Saudi Arabia has announced that everyone arriving for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in November will have to swallow a dose of oral polio vaccine under the eyes of health officials.
The kingdom has become more and more aggressive in its fight against polio, which has hovered on the brink of ... Read More
Pregnant women are deluged with advice about things to avoid: caffeine, paint, soft cheese, sushi. Even when evidence of possible harm is weak or purely theoretical, the overriding caveat is, “Don’t take it, don’t use it, don’t do it.”
In a few contexts, the admonition is warranted; in most, ... Read More
A team of researchers at MIT are engineering a strain of bacteria, which is similar to the type that causes tuberculosis, to produce biofuel.
The researchers say that the bacteria are useful because they are hungry for a number of sugars and toxic compounds and produce lipids that can be conv... Read More
When the label tells you the food you are buying “contains probiotics,” are you getting health benefits or just marketing hype? Perhaps a bit of both.
Probiotics are live micro-organisms that work by restoring the balance of intestinal bacteria and raising resistance to harmful germs. Taken i... Read More
They lurk on the kitchen sponge, your computer keyboard and the dirty laundry. Flush the toilet and they become airborne. Strangers leave them behind on airplanes, gas pumps, shopping carts, coffeeshop counters and elevator buttons. Your desktop, office microwave handles, and the exercise bike a... Read More
Coral reefs where lots of different kinds of fish swim are healthier than overfished ones, scientists have shown.
Researchers showed a reduced incidence of coral disease in areas of the Philippines where fishing is banned, compared with neighbouring areas.
They conclude that some types of ... Read More
Exposure to light and possibly photosynthesis itself could be helping disease-causing bacteria to be internalized by lettuce leaves, making them impervious to washing, according to research published in the October issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Salmonella enteri... Read More
Enterobacter sakazakii, a gram-negative bacillus, is a rare cause of bloodstream and central nervous system infections. In 2007, following extensive study, it was proposed that the original taxonomy of Enterobacter sakazakii be revised, to consist of five new species moved to a new genus, ide... Read More
As soon as swine flu vaccinations start next month, some people getting them will drop dead of heart attacks or strokes, some children will have seizures and some pregnant women will miscarry.
But those events will not necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine. That poses a public rela... Read More
Using state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques, a team led by researchers from Caltech has for the first time visualized and described the precise arrangement of chemoreceptors—the receptors that sense and respond to chemical stimuli—in bacteria. In addition, they have found that this spe... Read More
The retroviruses which gave rise to HIV have been battling it out with mammal immune systems since mammals first evolved around 100 million years ago – about 85 million years earlier than previously thought, scientists now believe.
The remains of an ancient HIV-like virus have been discovered... Read More
Antibiotic resistance has been a significant problem for hospitals and health-care facilities for more than a decade. But despite the need for new treatment options, there have been only two new classes of antibiotics developed in the last 40 years.
Now a promising discovery by McMaster Unive... Read More
For the first time, ETH Zurich scientists have examined the genes and proteins of bacteria that live on leaves to clarify which unicellular organisms are found on leaf surfaces and what they are doing there.
Bacteria are everywhere: in the ground, on the seabed, in boiling hot sources, in the... Read More
University of Toronto researchers are part of an international team which has uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that plays an important role in the spread of listeria, the trigger behind the food-borne disease listeriosis, which caused a deadly outbreak in Canada in the summer of 2008.
... Read More
More than 3,000 people a day have a heart attack. If you're one of them the day after your swine flu shot, will you worry the vaccine was to blame and not the more likely culprit, all those burgers and fries?
The government is starting an unprecedented system to track possible side effects as... Read More
Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute and the Tufts University School of Medicine reported in the advance, online edition of Nature Methods this week that they have come up with a method for identifying genes needed for bacterial survival — and mapping genetic interaction... Read More
While most attempts to engineer biofuel-producing microbes have focused on well-known organisms such as yeasts and E. coli, scientists also hope to co-opt the unique metabolic functions of some of the microbial world's less-studied creatures. Anthony Sinskey and his team at MIT have been catalog... Read More
Five genetic regions have been identified that are unique to the most virulent strain of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), the hospital superbug. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology studied the genome of the bacterium, looking for genes relating to moti... Read More
Yale engineers have for the first time observed and tracked E. coli bacteria moving in a liquid medium with a motion similar to that of a kayak paddle.
Their findings, which appear online September 29 in the journal Physical Review Letters, will help lead to a better understanding of how bact... Read More