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About RSS

rssRSS stands for really simple syndication. It's an acronym encompassing various data formats (xml, atom, rss, rdf) used for providing users with frequently updated content. RSS also allows... Read More

DNA Disruptor

Viruses can act as miniature couriers. When they infect, they may inadvertently take up a bit of their host’s DNA and have it copied into their progeny. When the offspring viruses move on to infect new cells, they may insert this bit of accidentally pilfered DNA into the new hosts’ genome. This ... Read More

Contact

When viruses come into contact with host cells, they trigger the cells to engulf them, or fuse themselves to the cell membrane so they can release their DNA into the cell.

Once inside a host cell, viruses take over its machinery to reproduce. Viruses override the host cell’s normal functioni... Read More

What They Are

A virus is basically a tiny bundle of genetic material—either DNA or RNA—carried in a shell called the viral coat, or capsid, which is made up of bits of protein called capsomeres. Some viruses have an additional layer around this coat called an envelope. That's basically all there is to viru... Read More

Slime Molds




In 1973, a Dallas resident went out to the backyard only to stumble upon a reddish, jelly-like mass pulsating in the grass. News reports on the discover... Read More

Water Molds


Water molds are always found in wet environments, especially in fresh water sources and near the upper layers of moist soil.

Officially named Oomycota, they are also known as downy mildews and white rusts.

Water molds were long considered ... Read More

Viruses of Note


  • Adenoviruses are used in experimental gene therapy treatments to deliver therapeutic genes.



  • Bacteriophages are being explored as tools to treat bacterial infections by targeting and destroying infectious bacteria.


Where They Are Found


Viruses are found on or in just about every material and environment on Earth from soil to water to air. They're basically found anywhere there are cells to infect. Viruses have evolved to infect every form of life, from animal to plant and from fungi to bacter... Read More

Protozoa

The name protozoa means “first animals.” As the principal hunters and grazers of the microbial world, protozoa play a key role in maintaining the balance of bacterial, algal, and other microbial life. They also are themselves an important food source for larger creatures and the basis of many fo... Read More

What They Look Like


Fungi are eukaryotic organisms. This means that their DNA-containing chromosomes are enclosed within a nucleus inside their cells. (The chromosomes of bacteria and archaea are not walled off inside nuclei, making them prokaryotic organisms.)

Many dec... Read More

Other Virus Like Things

Viruses may be referred to often as the smallest infectious things. But there are some smaller contenders. Some of the agents of plant disease lack even a viral coat and are merely small strings of plain, or "naked," RNA. These particles are called viroids. They are believed ... Read More

Single-minded Mission

Viruses exist for one purpose only: to reproduce. To do that, they have to take over the reproductive machinery of suitable host cells.


Upon landing on an appropriate host cell, a virus gets its genetic material inside the cell either by tricking the host cell to pull it inside, like ... Read More

Hunters and Grazers

Most fungi can best be described as grazers, but a few are active hunters.

Hunter fungi prey on tiny protozoa and worm-like creatures called nematodes.

Some produce a sticky substance on their hyphae, which then act like flypaper, trapping passing prey.

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How They Move


fungal_spores Read More

Microbial Mergers

Collaborations on a Minute Scale



Over millions of years of evolution, we humans have worked out a mutually beneficial partnership with the microbes that came to inhabit our guts. In ... Read More

What They Eat


Fungi absorb nutrients from living or dead organic matter (plant or animal stuff) that they grow on. They absorb simple, easily dissolved nutrients, such as sugars, through their cell walls. They give off special digestive enzymes to break down complex nutrient... Read More

Where They’re Found


Fungi can be found in rising bread, moldy bread, and old food in the refrigerator, and on forest floors. Most decompose non-living things, but some damage crops and plants. A few cause problems in people, such as Candida, which causes yeast infections.... Read More

Protista

Algae, Protozoa, Slime Molds, and Water Molds


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Protista of Note





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Dinoflagellates

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