Microbiology

At the end of 2014 the British government released a frightening report about antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The report says higher rates of drug-resistant bacterial infections could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050 and calculated the financial toll to be $100 trillion. Antibiotic-resistant infections are rising and foiling efforts to reduce death rates in developing...

For the first time, living bacteria have been captured by X-ray, researchers report. Researchers from Uppsala University are working at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, Calif, which is operated by Stanford University. This discovery, which offers a fresh way to view active biological samples, could lead to X-ray forays into mechanisms integral...

Scientists have found people’s genes haven’t retained as many fragments of viral DNA as other mammals, maybe due in part to our adoption of tools in lieu of teeth during conquest. Thus, exposure to viruses lurking in the blood may have been lessened. This is not to say people don’t harbor bits of DNA from viruses...

Scientists find just a few microbes are needed to infect lymph node, cause disease A long-held theory about how bubonic plague is caused has been flipped on its head, according to scientists. Researchers from the UNC School of Medicine found that instead of using host cells, some of the plague-causing bacteria travel to lymph nodes in small...

A new wrinkle in federal funding for disputed gain-of-function studies (GOF) in which pathogens are modified to make them lethal or easier to transmit—the White House is putting funding on hold while experts craft a government-wide policy for evaluating the risks. The funding “pause,” says a White House blog (from the Office of Science and Technology...

For people who go to the emergency room with animal bites each year, cat bites account for only 10 to 15 percent. Although dog bites are much more common, the wounds inflicted by cats are of special concern because of a greater infection risk. Dog bites are also more likely to tear through flesh and...

Several recent science articles focus on new discoveries that bring forth concerns about old bacteria causing many deaths in the past could lead to new bacteria that may cause future outbreaks. Researchers have found tiny bits of DNA in the teeth of two German victims of the Justinian plague from around 1,500 years ago. Scientists...

Parents of children with allergies are familiar with the routine cleanings and keeping potential allergens away, including the family pet. It turns out that the family dog that carries dust from outdoors into the home may actually benefit babies. New research suggests that the dust that comes in with the dog can impart immune protection...

The bacterium staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, has been deemed a “superbug” because of its resistance to antibiotics. Affecting 1 million Americans every year, MRSA causes serious infections of the bone, heart, and implanted medical devices. Due to the inability of the bacterium to be effectively treated and the seriousness of the deep-seated...

Oarfish are thought to be the world’s largest bony fish. They can reach over 30 feet long and have a sea serpent reputation from infrequent sightings. However, because these fish live in deep water, usually 650-1,000 feet down, not much is known about them. Researchers at the University of Santa Barbara recently had a rare opportunity...