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Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) genome sequence published then withdrawn

Earlier this month the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) published the DNA sequence of the genome of HeLa cells, the cell line that is widely used for research in virology, cell biology, and many other areas. This cell line was produced from a tumor taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.... Read More

Should variola virus, the agent of smallpox, be destroyed?

Later this month (May 2014) the World Health Assembly will decide whether to destroy the remaining stocks of variola virus – the agent of smallpox – or to allow continued research on the virus at WHO-approved laboratories. We are interested in your opinion on this issue. Please follow the link t... Read More

Illustrating Some Simple Microbiological Concepts: Transformation, Antibiotic Resistance, and GFP.

In this blog post, I describe a simple "colony transformation" experiment I have done with my freshman students, illustrating transformation, antibiotic resistance, and GFP. The visual aspects help drive home the points effectivel. Read More

BacterioFiles 171 - Segments Select Specific Strains

This episode: Ahmed Gomaa and I discuss how to keep some microbes and get rid of others using bacteria's own immune system!


(15.1 MB, 16.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
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TWiV 238: Lost in translation



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, and Read More

Rhizopus microsporus

Rhizopus microsporus
It causes human mucormycosis and bovine mycotic abortion.
It is distinguished from R.arrhizus by its shorter stalk, and smaller sporangia and spores.
Variant forms
Var.oligosporus : has elongated columellae ; spores less obviously striated.
Var.rhizopodiformis : has ... Read More

El podcast del microbio Nº 258. Buscando a la Muerte Negra. (Searching for the Black Death)



























El podcast del Microbio Nº258 deals with the sequencing of the Yersinia pestis strain that causes the Black Death. El podcast de... Read More

Deans write to Obama about CIA vaccine scheme in Pakistan

Deans of public health schools in the United States have sent a letter to President Obama, in which they criticize the use of a vaccination campaign by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. I wonder if he will reply. Read More

1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital

When antibiotics first started being used in the 1940's they were considered a "miracle drug". It seemed that bacterial infections would no longer be a problem for the world. However, recently, one gene is making it seem as though the end of antibiotics is at hand. This gene is New Delhi metallo... Read More

TWiV 269: Herpesvirus stops a nuclear attack



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier Read More

WHO will switch to type 2 inactivated poliovirus vaccine

The World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis made impressive inroads in 2012: only 212 cases were reported, compared with 620 the previous year; moreover, India remained polio-free. The dark side of this story is that as wild polio is eliminated, vaccine-associated poliomy... Read More

El podcast del microbio Nº250. Cómo hacer un virus letal en cinco pasos (How to make a lethal virus in five steps)



























"El podcast del microbio" Nº 250 summarize the article published in November by New Scientist about the controversial work on mu... Read More

Viruses on Time

Poliovirus recently made the cover of Time magazine. Prompted by a reader question, I searched the Time archive to find out if there have been other virology-themed covers. I found fifteen in all, depicting poliovirus (3), herpesvirus (1), HIV/AIDS (4), influenza (5), and SARS coronavirus (2) (I... Read More

Poliovirus on Time

Poliovirus has made the cover of Time magazine. The Time cover image for the 14 January 2013 issue is a model of poliovirus bound to a soluble form of its cellular receptor, CD155. I was part of the team that solved the structure of this complex in 2000, together with the laboratories of Jim Hog... Read More

Harvard University: Great virology, bad science writing

Harvard University is home to some of the world’s finest virologists. But apparently they do not communicate with the writers at Harvard Magazine, where a botched story on the avian H5N1 influenza virus has just been published. Read More

TWiM #49 transcript

Here is a transcript of TWiM episode #49, "Grape-like clusters". Thanks to Frank Shinneman for transcription.


The transcript is also available as a pdf file - click... Read More

Virus-induced fever might change bacteria from commensal to pathogen

Neisseria meningitidis may cause septicemia (bacteria in the blood) and meningitis (infection of the membrane surrounding the brain), but the bacterium colonizes the nasopharynx in 10-20% of the human population without causing disease. Although understanding how the bacterium changes from a com... Read More

Antibiotics work against viruses

Got your attention, eh? This page discusses why so many people believe that antibiotics kill viruses, and what you can do about that myth. Actually, it's not even a myth ... antibiotics DO work against viruses. The problem is that the word "antibiotics" is redefined by some to be a synonym of... Read More

TWiV 265: This year in virology



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove Read More

Friday flu shot

Yesterday many US newspapers carried front-page stories on the severity of influenza so far this season. The New York Times story began with “It is not your imagination — more people you know are sick this winter, even people who have had flu shots.” Is this really a bad flu season? Read More

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