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The virus and the virion

The illustration at left depicts a virion – the infectious particle that is designed for transmission of the nucleic acid genome among hosts or host cells. A virion is not the same as a virus. I define virus as a distinct biological entity with five distinct characteristics. Others believe that ... Read More

Audio interview by Microbe magazine Current Topics and Features editor Jeff Fox with Douglas Theobald of Brandeis University.

Microbe magazine Current Topics and Features Editor Jeff Fox talks with Douglas Theobald of Brandeis University about Theobald's work testing the he notion of a universal common ancestry (UCA) for all species.
Read More

TWiV 91 Letters

Darrick and Scott write:


Hello Professor Racaniello,


We are two graduate students from the University of Guelph in Canada studying oncogenic sheep betaretroviruses and we are big fans of the show. Part of the reason we like the show so much is that we can use ... Read More

TWiV 91; You're an ERVous wreck

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On episode #91 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Dickson, Alan, Rich and Welkin discuss the nature, origin, and evolution of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), and the recent finding of en... Read More

Next Generation Sequencing Data Analysis Made Easier with PANGEA

Next generation sequencing is a powerful method increasing in popularity for use in metagenomic and transcriptomic analysis in environmental microbiology. Compared to Sanger sequencing, next generation allows for sequencing of the complete genomic content of a sample without the need to make clo... Read More

Reovirus infection of farmed salmon

Global fish farming may be the solution to the impending collapse of the commercial fishing industry, but penned fish are susceptible to infectious diseases. Infection with salmon infectious anemia virus, an orthomyxovirus, lead Wal-Mart to stop buying farmed salmon from Chile, the world’s secon... Read More

TWiV 90 Letters

Eric writes:


Hi Vincent,


After 86 episodes of TWiV, I am still loving every minute of the podcast and I am constantly impressed with how much I learn. For example, I have been mentoring an undergraduate student in the lab and we have had a rough two week stret... Read More

TWiV 90: Guano happens

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On episode #90 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, Rich and Eric discuss identification of viruses in Northeastern American bats, vaccinia virus infection after sexual contact with ... Read More

Comments on the “Synthetic Cell”

"The now famous announcement by the Venter group is based on their paper in Science entitled Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome. We applaud this work for its impressive technical achievement and we acknowledge its future potential. However, we find the ter... Read More

Virology toolbox: the western blot

Readers of virology blog often request explanations of specific experimental techniques. Methods such as complement fixation, deep sequencing, ELISA, PCR and many others are frequently mentioned on this blog without discussion. To do so would interrupt the scientific discourse and make for lengt... Read More

Claire Fraser-Liggett on “Complex microbial communities: We’re not in Kansas anymore”

Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, gives the June 2, 2010 keynote at the "Sequencing, Finishing, Analysis in the Future" meeting in Santa Fe, NM. Read More

The Sea Slug's Guide to Plastid Adoption

Having an intimate relationship with photosynthetic microbes is a widespread strategy adopted by numerous unicellular and multicellular organisms. Some eschew a committed relationship, and simply nab the plastids, sequestering them inside vacuoles where they continue to photosynthesize for a whi... Read More

Measuring the Impact on Microbial Diversity after an Oil Spill

As the U.S. struggles with the after effects of the oil spill on tourism, animal health, and food safety due to the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, microbiologists are stuggling to determine the scope of damage to microbial diversity in the ocean water and sediment.

The explos... Read More

TWiV 89 Letters

Andreas writes:


Hello professors,


I would just like to start by saying thank you for the wonderful podcast.


Today I found this article (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127226355) on npr which seems to describe a remarkably effectiv... Read More

TWiV 89: Where do viruses vacation?

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On episode #89 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent and Alan review recent findings on the association of the retrovirus XMRV with ME/CFS, reassortment of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus... Read More

Publication of XMRV papers should not be blocked

The findings by the NIH and FDA that XMRV is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome has been accepted for publication by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Release of the article has been blocked by PNAS due to work carried out by the US Centers for Disease Control and... Read More

The Application of Standards to the NIH Roadmap Human Microbiome Project

Barbara Methe, Professor in the Departments of Human Genome Medicine and Microbial and Environmental Genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), gives an overview of the Human Microbiome Project at the 9th Genomic Standards Consortium Workshop held at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockv... Read More

High Resolution Melting Analysis - Beyond the SNP

Real-time qPCR using SYBR Green and melting curve analysis to verify specific product amplification has become a standard laboratory technique for rapid, high throughput gene quantification. An extension of this melting curve method – High Resolution melting analysis (HRMA)– is now doing the sa... Read More

How Silica Spin Column DNA and RNA Preps Work

We give a lot of troubleshooting help on DNA and RNA isolation on Bitesize Bio because almost everything we do in molecular biology requires DNA or RNA at the very first step. These days, most labs use commercial kits, which employ spin columns, for the isolation of nucleic acids. The spin colu... Read More

Triclosan: What Consumers Should Know

What is triclosan?

Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It may be found in products such as clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. It also may be added to antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmet... Read More
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