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Getting Started with MicrobeWorld

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Genome Wide Manipulation of the Bacterial Chromosome in Vivo

On the Small Things Considered blog, Michael Schmidt, Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, reviews a recent paper entitled "Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement" by Church and colleagu... 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

Virophage, the virus eater

A second virophage has been identified. The name does not signify a virus that infects another virus – it means virus eater.
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

The Human Lake

Science writer Carl Zimmer writes a masterful blog piece tracing the history of the study of ecosystems, from lakes to the human microbiome. Just one interesting fact: In their lifetimes, individual humans will produce about five elephants worth of microbes. Read More

Microbial Movers - A Small Things Considered Post

Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered has authored an interesting post today about the motility of bacteria, specifically Paenibacillus, although he does highlight several other strains that swarm, glide or twitch.

"Microbes get around. They can be carried by the wind, by insects, or by ... Read More

XMRV and CFS – It’s not the end

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune published my reaction to the four papers on the retrovirus XMRV published this week in the journal Retrovirology. I was quoted as saying ”These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS”. I wish to retract this statement and explain my reason... Read More

Building the perfect bug

This past February I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of the Fouchier and Kawaoka experiments on avian influenza virus H5N1. The video, Building the Perfect Bug, has been released by Journeyman Pictures and includes interviews with S.T. Lai, Laurie Garrett, Mic... 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

Whole genome sequence of Borrelia burgdorferi...

Human Lyme disease is caused by a number of related Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato species. We report here the complete genome sequence of Borrelia sp. isolate SV1 from Finland. 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

Small fragments of viral nucleic acid cross borders in monkey meat

The finding of viral nucleic acid sequences in illegally imported wildlife products has attracted the attention of the New York Times, which published an article entitled From the jungle to J.F.K., viruses cross borders in monkey meat. 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 dwindling American science majors

According to the New York Times (Why Science Majors Change Their Minds), the decline in the number of science majors in the United States has come about in part because the subject matter is too difficult. If this explanation is true, then we have not properly prepared these students in grades K... Read More

Viral bioinformatics: Introduction + Homology

First, you may be asking yourself – Why viral bioinformatics? Good question! Although it’s true that much in the world of bioinformatics can be applied to all manner of protein and DNA sequences, there are a number of resources that are specific for viruses and there are a number of analyses tha... 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

Happy as a clam? Maybe not.

The expression “Happy as a Clam” comes with new meaning as hepatitis A virus has been detected in clams, mussels, and oysters in markets for human consumption. As bivalve shellfish are excellent bio-accumulators of contaminants and chemicals, it is no surprise that they also harbor waterborne vi... 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

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

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
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