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Researchers open door to new HIV therapy

BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... Read More

Hacking Bacteria To Do Our Bidding: Photos

Scientists regularly tap into biological systems to find solutions for human problems. Although they work with plants and viruses in the lab, bacteria have many advantages as a starting point. When programmed in certain ways, bacteria can store data, clean dangerous waste, produce film-like imag... Read More

Bacteria show surprising number of genetic paths to survival

A boy with cystic fibrosis develops a chronic and potentially deadly Burkholderia dolosa infection in his lungs. Varieties of genetic mutations allow some strains of the bacteria to survive the dual assaults from his immune system and antibiotics, while others perish. Eventually, the strongest m... Read More

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

Microbiome in gut, mouth, and skin of low birth weight infants differentiate over first weeks after birth

Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study in mBio this week. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pi... Read More

Recalling the Good in the Good Old Days

In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More

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

Novel vaccine approach to human cytomegalovirus found effective

An experimental vaccine against human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, which endangers the developing fetus, organ transplant recipients, patients with HIV and others who have a weakened immune system, proved safe and more effective than previous vaccines developed to prevent infection by the ub... Read More

WHO warns against 'post-antibiotic' era

The 'post-antibiotic' era is near, according to a report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents is a global problem, and a surveillance system should be established to monitor it, the group says. There is ... Read More

Mollusk parasite culturing methods drive research

Researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences dug into the last 70 years of peer-reviewed publications about protozoan parasites that infest bivalve mollusks and found that when an organism can be cultured in the laboratory, more papers and greater understanding result. Senior Research S... Read More

UNC researchers discover new target for dengue virus vaccine

Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of... Read More

Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine

Whooping cough was once one of the leading killers of babies around the world. Now that it's largely controlled with a vaccine, scientists have had a chance to figure out how the disease came into being in the first place. That story is told in a study published online this week in the journal m... Read More

Scientists Convert Bacteria from Free-living to Nitrogen Fixing

If you pull up a soybean or bean plant and shake off the dirt, you might see odd swellings or bumps, like rheumatic finger joints, on its roots. Inside the cool, soil-covered bumps are bacteria that are making nitrogen with the help of an enzyme, something chemical factories can do only with the... Read More

Bacteria swim with bodies and flagella

Using a new technique to track the swimming motion of a single bacterium, researchers have discovered that the movement of the bacterium’s body — not just thrust from the flagellum — allow movement through fluids. The finding could shed new light on the evolution of cell body shape.

Click "so... Read More

Tiny Algae Responsible for Mysterious Fossil Whale Graveyard?

Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... Read More

Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony

A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit its infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to researchers at Penn State and colleagues at Brazil's Federal U... Read More

Study of gut microbes, antibiotics offers clues to improving immunity in premature babies

Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs -— germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fight bacterial infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses. A new animal study by neonatology researchers at The Children's Hospital of P... Read More

Yes! We have no bananas? It could actually happen

Banana lovers take note: The world's supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat. "It's a very serious situation," said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discove... Read More

Rethinking The Origin of Species: Discover Magazine Features The Speciation Microbiome Project

From Discover: "Scientists have long known of the important roles played by the microbes on and in our bodies — our microbiomes. These little guys outnumber our own cells 10 to 1, and they help regulate everything from the energy we get out of food to the health of our immune systems. Now, scien... Read More

Microbes Defy Rules of DNA Code

The instructions encoded into DNA are thought to follow a universal set of rules across all domains of life. But researchers report in the May 23 issue of Science that organisms routinely break these rules.

The finding has implications for the design of synthetic life: by designing organisms ... Read More

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