More Stories in Microbes

  1. illustration of slinky structures in archaea dna

    Archaea microbes fold, twist and contort their DNA in extreme ways

    Single-celled archaea open and close their Slinky-like genetic material in a clamshell motion, possibly providing easy access to their genes.

  2. Dermasterias imbricata

    Some bacteria are suffocating sea stars, turning the animals to goo

    For years, researchers thought an infectious pathogen was behind sea star wasting disease. Instead, bacteria deplete the starfishes’ oxygen.

  3. Black-legged tick
    Health & Medicine

    How some ticks protect themselves from deadly bacteria on human skin

    A gene that ticks acquired from bacteria 40 million years ago may help the arachnids keep potential pathogens at bay while feeding on blood.

  4. a photo of clouds

    50 years ago, scientists suspected microbes flourished in clouds

    In 1970, scientists presented early evidence that microbes in clouds may be alive and kicking.

  5. Plasmodium falciparum

    How malaria parasites hide from the human immune system

    By turning genes on or off, the parasite keeps blood levels low but persistent, so infection doesn’t set off alarm bells for the immune system.

  6. a photo of a hot spring

    Life on Earth may have begun in hostile hot springs

    What researchers learn at hot springs and seafloor vents may guide the search for life on icy moons and Mars.

  7. Mouse mom with pups

    A mother mouse’s gut microbes help wire her pup’s brain

    The pups of mice lacking gut microbes, and the compounds they make, have altered nerve cells in part of the brain and a lowered sensitivity to touch.

  8. a microscopic image of Naegleria fowleri

    50 years ago, scientists were on the trail of a brain-eating amoeba

    In 1970, scientists were studying a brain-eating amoeba that had been implicated in a newfound disease. Today, infections by the parasite are still poorly understood.

  9. New Zealand wine grape field

    How does a crop’s environment shape a food’s smell and taste?

    Scientific explorations of terroir — the soil, climate and orientation in which crops grow — hint at influences on flavors and aromas.