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
Bacteria contain the genetic blueprint (DNA) and all the tools (ribosomes, proteins, etc.) they need to reproduce themselves.
Viruses are moochers. They contain only a limited genetic blueprint and they don't have the necessary building tools. They have to invade other cells and hijack the... Read More
Our Challenge: Name at least three places microbes live. Can you think of any places that microbes might not live?
Established in 2003, MicrobeWorld is an interactive multimedia educational outreach initiative from the American Society for Microbiology that promotes awareness and understanding of key microbiological issues to adult and youth audiences, and showcases the significance of m... Read More
Some people think it would be great if scientists could wipe out all the microbial bugs! Should we do it, and why or why not?
We get a lot of requests to track down the nasty bugs that are making people sick. It's true that some microbes cause health problems such as strep throat, chi... Read More
Ever been outside on a day so hot, you said to your friends, "I feel like I’m melting"? Well, of course you were exaggerating. But there are microbes called thermophiles <ther-mo-files>, or heat-lovers, that live in temperatures so hot, the microbes could actually melt if they hadn’t devel... Read More
Developing tricks and tools to keep their enzymes in order is one way thermophiles survive. They also use techniques to keep their DNA from falling apart under intense heat. Like proteins, the parts of the long, spiral ladder-shaped DNA molecule start to unravel and break apart under high hea... Read More
When you go to the dentist to have your jaws X-rayed, you’ll notice that you have to wear a heavy lead apron—and the person who takes the X-ray leaves the room to do it. X-rays are safe, but these precautions give you some sense of how careful we have to be around even relatively harmless lev... Read More
If a microbiologist is studying bacteria that bioremediate, or break down, toxic wastes and wants to know which specific genes are active when that bacterium is degrading, say, PCBs, he would likely use a tool called the DNA microarray.
Microarrays enable scientists to monitor the act... Read More