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  • News

    These ancient mounds may not be the earliest fossils on Earth after all

    Tiny mounds touted as the earliest fossilized evidence of life on Earth may just be twisted rock.

    Found in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks in Greenland, the mounds strongly resemble cone-shaped microbial mats called stromatolites, researchers reported in 2016. But a new analysis of the shape, internal layers and chemistry of the structures suggests that the mounds weren’t shaped by microbes...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Earth, Paleontology, Microbes
  • News

    In cadaver caves, baby beetles grow better with parental goo

    Growing up inside a dead mouse could really stink, but not for some burying beetles. Their parents’ gut microbes keep the cadaver fresh, creating a nursery where the larvae can thrive.

    What burying beetle parents can do with a small dead animal is remarkable, says coauthor Shantanu Shukla of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany.  “It looks different. It smells...

    10/15/2018 - 18:27 Animals, Microbes
  • News

    These light-loving bacteria may survive surprisingly deep underground

    Deep below Earth's surface, life finds a way.

    Traces of cyanobacteria have been found more than 600 meters underground in a rocky outcrop in Spain, suggesting the microbes can survive without sunlight. Instead of photosynthesizing like others of their kind, these light-starved microorganisms may create energy using hydrogen, researchers report October 1 in the Proceedings of the National...

    10/09/2018 - 16:13 Earth, Microbes
  • Feature

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    One fine Hawaiian day in 2015, Geoff Zahn and Anthony Amend set off on an eight-hour hike. They climbed a jungle mountain on the island of Oahu, swatting mosquitoes and skirting wallows of wild pigs. The two headed to the site where a patch of critically endangered Phyllostegia kaalaensis had been planted a few months earlier. What they found was dispiriting.

    “All the plants were gone,”...

    09/06/2018 - 11:00 Agriculture, Plants, Microbes
  • News

    A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    The first new treatment in 60 years for a particularly stubborn kind of malaria is raising hopes that it might help eradicate the disease, even though the treatment can cause a dangerous side effect.

    Called tafenoquine, the drug targets the parasite that causes relapsing malaria. Plasmodium vivax infects an estimated 8.5 million people, mainly in Asia and Latin America. Each time...

    08/09/2018 - 10:00 Health, Microbes, Genetics