Penicillin attacks with a calculated strike, splitting open cell walls. Kanamycin sends a bacterium’s protein assembly line into mayhem. Ciprofloxacin dices a microbe’s DNA into a genetic hash. Like trained snipers, each of these common antibiotics seems to dispatch bacteria with a simple tactic: Target a high-profile molecule crucial to survival and, with a single, clean shot, defeat the whole...
04/18/2014 - 15:00
To a visitor walking down, down, down the white cinder block stairwell and through metal doors into the basement, Building 010A takes on the hushed, mile-long-beige-corridor feel of some secret government installation in a blockbuster movie.It’s not open to sightseers, but it’s far from secret. No jut-jawed military escort leads the way; biologist Shannon Dominick wears a striped sweater as she...
04/18/2014 - 13:55
Eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of developing colon cancer in people who have the gene variant rs4143094, researchers report April 17 in PLOS Genetics. One in three people have this altered gene, which is found on the same...
04/18/2014 - 09:00
The most dramatic genital-shape reversal known — females with long, insertable organs and males with corresponding pouches — has turned up in bark lice living in Brazilian caves.A female in each of the four Neotrogla species extends a skinny structure up to 15 percent the length of her body into a genital pocket in the male’s body, reports entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Hokkaido...
04/17/2014 - 13:17
News in Brief
Fruit fly larvae’s alluring and socially important odor turns out not to come from the flies at all, but from their gut microbes.Scent is a big deal to Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Both adults and larvae tend to shun untouched food in favor of clustering where larvae have already fed, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada,...
04/16/2014 - 18:00
Quasiparticles called excitons transfer energy through materials such as solar cells, LEDs, semiconductor circuits and even plant cells. Now, that motion has been observed and captured in images, researchers report April 16 in ...
04/16/2014 - 12:45
News in Brief
Sneezing out antimicrobial snot may sound like a superpower, but it actually could be a handicap.Triclosan, an omnipresent antimicrobial compound found in products ranging from soaps and toothpaste to medical equipment, is already known to show up in people’s urine, serum and breast milk. It seeps in through ingestion or skin exposure. Now, researchers have found that it gets into snot, too. And...
04/15/2014 - 14:46
Health, Microbes, Toxicology
Tanzania’s Hadza hunter-gatherers have guts teeming with bacteria much more diverse than what's found in Italians' intestines. But the foragers don't have Biﬁdobacterium, which is considered healthy, and do have more Treponema and other microbes that signal disease in Western populations. Hadza men and women even have major differences in their gut microbes.These differences...
04/15/2014 - 12:27
The best scenario for slowing global warming by 2100 requires the world to triple or quadruple by 2050 its use of renewable energy and sources of energy that emit only low amounts of greenhouse gases.The recommendation comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its third and final report of its fifth...
04/13/2014 - 19:49
Every day, you flush a liter or two of urine down the toilet. Unless you live in one of the dry places considering toilet-to-tap systems, you probably never consider drinking it.But if humans are ever going to get to Mars, we’re going to get there drinking our own pee. Now scientists have built a...
04/11/2014 - 16:38