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  • illustration of potential alien microbes
  • phages
Your search has returned 194 articles:
  • News

    Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it

    AUSTIN, Texas — If alien microbes crash-land on Earth, they may get a warm welcome.

    When people were asked how they would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, they give generally positive responses, researchers reported at a news conference February 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    This suggests that if...

    02/16/2018 - 17:00 Astrobiology, Microbiology, Science & Society
  • News

    Scientists find 10 new defense systems used by bacteria

    Since long before it gained fame as a precise gene-editing tool, CRISPR has had another job defending bacteria against viral invaders. And it’s far from alone. Ten sets of bacterial genes have similar, newly discovered defense roles, researchers report online January 25 in Science.

    The discovery “probably more than doubles the number of immune systems known in bacteria,” says Joseph...

    01/25/2018 - 16:16 Genetics, Microbiology
  • 50 years ago, synthetic DNA made its debut

    Viable synthetic DNA

    [Scientists] produced in a test tube a totally artificial copy of a type of DNA virus.… The particular type of viral DNA (called Phi X174) the researchers made is an extremely simple molecule of only five or six genes. Their achievement, however, lays the foundation for eventual synthesis of more complex DNAs. — Science News, December 30, 1967

    Update

    As...

    12/28/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Cells
  • News

    Bats in China carry all the ingredients to make a new SARS virus

    Viruses in bats may have mixed and matched genes to create the virus that gave rise to the deadly SARS outbreak in 2003, a new study suggests. And it could happen again. All of the ingredients needed to create a new SARS virus are found among viruses currently infecting horseshoe bats, researchers report November 30 in PLOS Pathogens.

    The viruses “are poised to cause future outbreaks,”...

    11/30/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Animals
  • News

    Gut fungi might be linked to obesity and inflammatory bowel disorders

    Fungi may affect gut health in unexpected ways, new research suggests.

    High-fat diets may alter relationships between bacteria and fungi in mice’s intestines, contributing to obesity, researchers report October 11 in mSphere. In independent work, researchers report that a fungus teams up with two types of bacteria to fuel gut inflammation in people with Crohn’s disease. That work was...

    10/16/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology, Health
  • Feature

    KC Huang probes basic questions of bacterial life

    KC Huang, 38PhysicistStanford University

    Physicists often ponder small things, but probably not the ones on Kerwyn Casey “KC” Huang’s mind. He wants to know what it’s like to be a bacterium.

    “My motivating questions are about understanding the physical challenges bacterial cells face,” he says. Bacteria are the dominant life-forms on Earth. They affect the health of plants and...

    10/04/2017 - 13:50 Microbiology, Biophysics
  • Feature

    Lena Pernas sees parasitic infection as a kind of Hunger Games

    Lena Pernas, 30ParasitologistUniversity of Padova

    Lena Pernas’ love of parasites began in childhood, when she was plagued with many virtual infections. One of her favorite pastimes as a 9-year-old was playing The Amazon Trail, an educational computer game set near the South American river. One of the dangers players could encounter was malaria, “and I got malaria a lot,” Pernas says. This...

    10/04/2017 - 13:47 Microbiology, Microbes
  • News

    A mutation may explain the sudden rise in birth defects from Zika

    A single genetic mutation made the Zika virus far more dangerous by enhancing its ability to kill nerve cells in developing brains, a new study suggests.

    The small change — which tweaks just one amino acid in a protein that helps Zika exit cells — may cause microcephaly, researchers report September 28 in Science. The mutation arose around May 2013, shortly before a Zika outbreak in...

    09/28/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Microbiology, Health
  • The Science Life

    This biochemist brews a wild beer

    Craft brewers are going wild. Some of the trendiest beers on the market are intentionally brewed with yeast scavenged from nature, rather than the carefully cultivated ale or lager yeast used in most commercial beers.

    Matthew Bochman is in on the action. By day, he’s a biochemist at Indiana University Bloomington who studies how cells keep their DNA intact. On the side, he can be found...

    09/19/2017 - 10:00 Microbiology, Genetics, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Microbes hobble a widely used chemo drug

    Some bacteria may shield tumor cells against a common chemotherapy drug.

    Certain types of bacteria make an enzyme that inactivates the drug gemcitabine, researchers report in the Sept. 15 Science. Gemcitabine is used to treat patients with pancreatic, lung, breast and bladder cancers.

    Bacteria that produce the enzyme cytidine deaminase converted the drug to an inactive form. That...

    09/14/2017 - 14:00 Cancer, Microbiology