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Algae: The Invisible Partner


Major development projects are taking place in oceans across the globe all the time, enterprises that will provide shelter and food for a vast number of fish, mussels, urchins, and other marine life.

While credit is regularly and duly given to the v... Read More

Mitochondria and Chloroplasts




The Partnerships That Led to Higher Life


If you could peer deep into one of the many cells in your body, you’d see little blobs, squiggles, and coils. These are the cel... Read More

Mouthless, Gutless Worms

In the deepest sea, where not a single photon of sunlight ever penetrates, life persists in eternal darkness, crowded around chemical- and lava-spewing fissures in the ocean’s floor. Life around these hydrothermal vents includes shrimp, crabs, and tall, slender tubeworms.... Read More

Types of Careers

scientist in lab Read More

Careers in Microbiology

What is a Microbe?

MicrobesMicrobes are single-cell organi... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

Classifications: What Difference Does it Make?

Does a bacterium’s cell wall, shape, way of moving, and environment really matter?

Yes! The more we know about bacteria, the more we are able to figure out how to make microbes work for us or stop dangerous ones from causing serious harm. And, for those of us who like to ponder more philosop... Read More

Bacteria

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Where They Live

Our Challenge: Name at least three places microbes live. Can you think of any places that microbes might not live?


Read More

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