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Plant Pathogen Silences Host’s Immune Genes

As more and more information becomes available, one marvels (and also frets) at the sophisticated strategies that pathogens have evolved in order to evade their hosts’ defense mechanisms. Many pathogens of plants and animals deliver effectors into their hosts in order to suppress immune response... Read More

New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

A new way to diagnose malaria

Using magnetic fields, technique can detect parasite’s waste products in infected blood cells.

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye... Read More

Esther Lederberg, Pioneer of Bacterial Genetics

“She did pioneering work in genetics, but it was her husband who won a Nobel price.” So said an obituary in the British newspaper The Guardian regarding Esther Lederberg, a North American microbiologist married to Joshua Lederberg from 1946 to 1966 [8]. Being married to and working along such a... Read More

The Jelly Roll of Life

We know that life on earth is incredibly diverse. It can survive deep in the trenches of the ocean and in the frozen permafrost of the arctic. Surely we have much to learn from the study of life, but we also have much to learn about the virus. Even though they are not considered living things, t... Read More

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More

Battling superbugs

Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria.

In recent years, new strains of bacteria have emerged that resist even the most powerful antibiotics. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect... Read More

Five Questions About the Foraminifera

The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants of their shells h... Read More

Pictures Considered #21. Southern Blot

"... These results, gained with a novel method for blotting (E. M. Southern, manuscript in preparation), have also led to the identification of the Bam Hl recognition sequence". It is rather unusual to find unpublished work referred to in the abstract of a paper, to put it mildly. But this was e... Read More

Would You Lick an E.Coli-Shaped Popsicle?

Designer Wei Lei poses a challenging, and fascinating question: Would you lick a delicious treat that resembles a prickly cactus or a deadly E. coli bacterium?

The Chinese designer’s collection of sweets, Dangerous Popsicles, transforms frozen sugar water into colorful spiny treats inspired b... Read More

A Snippet: Thioploca

The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

On July 20 a man who was ill flew on commercial planes from the heart of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. That man became Nigeria's first Ebola case—the index patient. In a matter of weeks some 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease (with one a... Read More

Scientists find superbug bacteria in World War I soldier who died of dysentery

Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery say it revealed a superbug that was resistant to antibiotics decades before those drugs were in common use.

The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance, which has become a glo... Read More

New type of heredity described in Paramecia, linked to epigenetics

Considered as an obsolete theory for many years, the transmission of acquired traits has returned to the forefront of debate thanks to the development of epigenetic research. In this context, a team of researchers has described how in Paramecia, mating types are transmitted from generation to ge... Read More

Artificial magnetic bacteria "turn" food into natural drugs

Scientists from the University of Granada have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug an... Read More

Fine Reading: There Is No 'Healthy' Microbiome

This is our first ever recommendation of an article published outside the usual scientific venues, but after all the hype we have heard about the human microbiome we were delighted to finally read a balanced account of what the research tells us and what it does not tell us. Plus, this article w... Read More

Ebola virus: Genes 'play significant role in survival'

Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus, say US scientists.

A study of mice infected with the virus found they showed a number of different symptoms, with 19% remaining unaffected by the disease.

This could explain why some people recover from... Read More

"Immortal" Cells from Henrietta Lacks Lead to Updated Rules on Genomic Data Sharing

Scientists who work on genomics and are funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) must post their data online so that others can build on the information, the agency has said in an update to its guidelines.

The change, which expands the remit of an earlier data-sharing policy, is ... Read More

7 Amazing Scientists and 1 Music Video Raise Hope for Ebola Researchers

A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More

Antibodies discovery could lead to universal dengue vaccine

A major new class of antibodies that can make the four different types of dengue virus (DENV) non-infectious has been discovered by a group of international researchers, including from the University of Melbourne.

The discovery could lead to the development of better vaccines and laboratory t... Read More
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