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The Rise of Genomic Superspreaders

One hundred million years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than today and vast inland seas stretched across entire continents. The land was dominated by charismatic megafauna that would one day serve as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. This period is commonly... Read More

10 Genes, Furiously Evolving

This is a great article by Carl Zimmer in the NY Times (@carlzimmer on Twitter) about the evolution process of viruses.

"Some viruses use DNA, like we do, to encode their genes. Others, like the influenza virus, use single-strand RNA. But viruses all have one thing in common, said Roland Wolk... Read More

Alzheimer''s disease plaques and tangles: Repositories of a herpes simplex/immune system battle leading to neuronal destruction

The protein components of the plaques and tangles seen in the Alzheimer's disease brain offer a clue to the origins of the disease: It turns out that they are heavily enriched in human proteins used by herpes simplex during its life cycle: Many immune system related proteins are also found in th... Read More

What Happened to Our Friendly Enterococci?

Enterococci had been generally regarded as benign commensals, a part of our healthy intestinal microbiota. They were even invited in, being used as probiotics. But then, in the late 1970s, the first multiple drug-resistant strains appeared, and vancomycin-resistant strains followed in 1981. In r... Read More

El Podcast del Microbio Nº 174 y 175. La Historia de Alice Catherine Evans. /The Story of Alice Catherine Evans)



























El podcast del Microbio Nº174 and 175 are dedicated to Alice Catherine Evans, one of the first women microbiologists. Los ... Read More

TWiV 139 Letters

Norma writes:


Some time ago I emailed you about transcribing an episode of TWiV and have finally finished episode 60. Let me join the chorus of appreciative listeners in praise for your podcast! I've learned a lot from it I was inspired by your generosity... Read More

PLoS Journals Projected to be 100% Self-Sufficient by 2010

The Public Library of Science's open access journals just release its 2009 June Progress Report in which they project "a publishing business model projected to be 100% self-sufficient in 2010."

"PLoS journals use a business model that recovers expenses — including administration of peer revie... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº194. Algas para limpiar un desastre (Algae for nuclear clean-up)



























El podcast del Microbio Nº194 is about the recent observation that the algae Closterium moniliferum could remove strontium... Read More

TWiV 98 Letters

James writes:


I'm just writing to clarify my question about the production of the flu vaccine if one of the other seasonal strains was removed as there seemed to be a bit of confusion about the point of it.


As I understand it one of the biggest holdups in seas... Read More

The Attendee's Guide to Scientific Meetings

Julian Davies, Professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society, has authored a humorous post on the Small Things Considered blog on the various methods an attendee of a scientific meeting can employ to enhance "maximum satisfaction and poise" one gets o... Read More

Influenza H5N1 virus versus ferrets, round two

The second of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past year was published today in the journal Science. I have carefully read the paper by Fouchier and colleagues, and I assure you that it does not enable the production of a deadly biological weapon. The resu... Read More

Fighting Disease: Researching the History and Biology of Vaccines (resource for teachers)

What is a vaccine, and why do we need them? How do vaccines work, and how were they developed? In this lesson, students gauge their previous knowledge about vaccines. They then explore the history and biology of vaccines and create educational posters on the nature of vaccines and public opinion... Read More

Can India remain polio-free?

India has been free of polio for over one year. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering that just 30 years ago the country recorded 200,000 cases of the disease annually, or one every three minutes. With polio endemic in two neighboring countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in the mo... Read More

El Podcast del Microbio Nº 169. DNA Ligasa de Mycobacterium cristalizada. (Mycobacterial DNA Ligase crystalized)



























El podcast del Microbio 169 resumes the recent Molecular Cell paper about the crystal structure of Mycobacterium tuberculo... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº 243: Sexo, neardentales y sistema inmune (Sex, neandertals and immune system)



























El podcast del microbio Nº 243 summarize the Science article by Abi-Rached et al. about the interbreeding between neandhertal an... Read More

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) announces the availability of two new resources designed to support pneumococcal disease prevention efforts

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)has announced the availability of two new resources designed to support pneumococcal disease prevention efforts on NFID’s website, Adultvaccination.org:

• a professional practice toolkit for healthcare professionals (HCPs)

Th... Read More

The Three Faces of Thiomargarita

Merry Youle of Small Things Considered has authored a post that looks at Thiomargarita spp.

"Non-motile Thiomargarita was first discovered in 1999 off the Namibian coast, thus was named T. namibiensis. Its cells are large spheres, arranged in chains, each chain enclosed in a mucous sheath. Av... Read More

TWiV 153 Letters

Jim Pipas writes:


1. Geographic Breakdown. The data can be broken down by location if you download Table S2. It is in the last column. We didn't discuss the data by location because for this paper we took a single sample from each site. Thus, this is a snapshot of vir... Read More

Palese: Don’t censor live-saving science

Renowned influenza virologist Peter Palese has penned an opinion column for the science journal Nature in which he uses his experience in reconstructing the 1918 pandemic influenza virus strain to question the censoring of H5N1 results by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSAB... Read More

The Microbial Weltanschauung

The figure for the number of prokaryotic cells on the planet, roughly 5x1030, is considerably greater than that of the estimated number of stars in the firmaments (3x1023). These two numbers have one thing in common: they both grew hugely and rather suddenly in recent human history.

Click "s... Read More
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