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5 Things We Didn't Know About the Fungal Outbreak Last Year

Health officials are still learning from the fungal outbreak tied to tainted steroid pain injections made at the now-shuttered New England Compounding Company.

Researchers now know that most patients' immune systems didn't try to fight off the deadly fungi as it burrowed into their spinal col... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Giant Viruses

Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... Read More

Drug Combo Can Sure Hepatitis C in Patients With HIV

A new combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in most patients also infected with HIV—and without the side effects of current treatments.

The advance is important, researchers say, because about a third of HIV patients in the United States also have hepatitis C. There are an estima... Read More

Bacteria May Allow Animals to Send Quick Voluminous Messages

Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.

In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More

Yet another avian influenza virus, H10N8, infects humans

To the collection of avian influenza viruses known to sporadically infect humans – H5N1, H7N9, H7N2, H7N3, H7N7, H9N2, and H10N7 – we can now add H10N8, recently found in two individuals in China. Avian influenza virus H10N8 was first detected in tracheal aspirates from a 73 year old woman who w... Read More

New botox super-toxin has its details censored

A new type of botulinum toxin – the deadliest substance known – has been discovered. Because it does not yet have an antidote, the DNA sequence behind it has been withheld from public databases. This is the first time a sequence has been kept secret over security concerns.

Injecting a mere 2 ... Read More

EU worries over pig virus prompt new blood import rules

The EU Commission has agreed new rules to limit the spread of a deadly swine disease that has killed millions of piglets in the US.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) has wiped out around 10% of the American herd in a year.

While the EU rejected an outright ban on live pig imports, it... Read More

Microbial to Human Cell Ratio: Just Bragging Rights?

Microbiota buffs repeat it often these days, proudly reminding the public that the microbial cells associated with humans outnumber their host cells by a ratio of ten-to-one. In his letter in the February 2014 Microbe, however, Judah L. Rosner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes a s... Read More

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs

A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells.

A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-... Read More

A bacterium reveals the crucible of its metallurgical activity

An international consortium led by CEA researchers in collaboration with the CNRS, has succeeded in characterizing the structure and function of a protein involved in the production of magnetite nanomagnets in magnetotactic bacteria. This protein, MamP, is crucial to the metallurgical activity o... Read More

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a genera... Read More

Paper device spots antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists in Canada have developed a paper-based device that checks if bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics. The simple system could help users in remote areas pick the most appropriate treatment for bacterial infections.

Click on 'source' to read more Read More

Small-scale badger culls may boost spread of cattle TB

Scientists say that culling a small number of badgers risks increasing the spread of TB infection to cattle.

The research suggests that some farmers who have allegedly killed badgers on their property could be making things worse for themselves and neighbours.

The findings also indicate th... Read More

How zinc starves lethal bacteria to stop infection

Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.

The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to des... Read More

Epsilon toxin may trigger multiple sclerosis, research finds

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a central nervous system disease that often leads to paralysis and vision problems, affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide and has no cure. Though no one knows what triggers MS, researchers have long suspected that a combination of genetic and environmental f... Read More

Terms of Biology: The Pan-Genome

A still somewhat unfamiliar term is floating around: the pan-genome. In 2005, Tettelin et al. coined the term along with genome analyses of eight Streptococcus agalactiae strains, and Merry introduced it to this blog, some time back already. Today, a keyword search in PubMed returns roughly 200 ... Read More

Tiny plastic dwellers have big impact on our oceans

Microscopic creatures that live on tiny ocean plastics greatly affect the fate and ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues have published an article in the international journ... Read More

Scientists Turn Dr. Frankenstein, Re-Write Bacteria’s Entire Genome

It may sound like science fiction, but researchers at Yale and Harvard have taken the first steps towards a Dr. Frankenstein-type reality, by fundamentally changing the genetic code of an organism.

The scientists were able to rewrite the genetic alphabet of the common bacteria E.coli, creatin... Read More

'Citrus greening' bacteria devastating world's orange crop

A glass of orange juice in the morning is something many of us take for granted. But that might soon change thanks to a citrus disease affecting every major orange-growing region in the world.

The world's orange crop is being threatened by "citrus greening," a bacterial infection carried by a... Read More

Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.

NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loos... Read More

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