Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli(E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action.
“This is as close as we can get to rewinding and replaying the molecular tape of life,” said scientist Betül Kaçar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech’s NASA Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution. “The ability to observe an ancient gene in a modern organism as it evolves within a modern cell allows us to see whether the evolutionary trajectory once taken will repeat itself or whether a life will adapt following a different path.”
Excerpt of an article via PhysOrg. Continue HERE
The Human Microbiome Project has spent two years surveying bacteria and other microbes at different sites on 242 healthy people. The chart below hints at the complex combinations of microbes living in and on the human body.
See a larger infographic at the NYT
The unimaginably arid conditions of South America’s Atacama Desert have mad it the perfect scientific stand-in for Mars. So in a place that is quite literally almost alien, it makes sense we’d find microbes as strange as these.
Specifically, researchers have found microbes inside some of the region’s volcanoes, which are incredibly dry even by the already ludicrous standards of the Atacama. Fungi and bacteria have been found in the recently collected soil samples, but of greatest interest are the least complex of the organisms, the archaea. Those found in the Atacama volcanoes seem to have evolved a way of converting energy – one of the most basic processes an organism undertakes – in a way unlike any other known species.
Excerpt of an article written by Alasdair Wilkins, at io9. Continue HERE
The body contains 10 times more bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms than human cells. Most of these species are harmless—although they can still cause illness if they wind up in the wrong place. In addition, researchers are beginning to learn exactly how some microbial species in the body help digestion and contribute to regulation of appetite and the immune system.
Learn about the bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms that maintain human health HERE
A compound in garlic is 100 times more powerful than two common types of antibiotics in fighting a type of bacteria that causes food poisoning, according to scientists.
The garlic ingredient called diallyl sulphide works for targeting a specific metabolic enzyme and is especially effective in penetrating the slimy ‘biofilm’ that protects colonies of Campylobacter bacterium that makes the food bug 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than bacteria without the film.
The new study, recently published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, found that not only was diallyl sulfide 100 times more effective than antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, the garlic compound was also able to destroy Campylobacter in just a fraction of the time taken by the drugs.
Researchers said that the latest discovery may lead to future treatments for raw and processed meats, and food preparation surfaces, that most bacterial infections stem from.
“This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies,” researcher Dr. Michael Konkel, from Washington State University, who has been studying Campylobacter jejuni for 25 years, said in a statement.
Excerpt of an article written by Christine Hsu, at Medical Daily. Continue HERE
Have you ever wondered how dirty your phone is? It is worse than you think. A little over a year ago my cousin, Wes, and I were watching TV when we saw a report stating that our phones have 18 times more harmful bacteria than the handle on a male public toilet. We were shocked! We started to research online to debunk this report, and we only found more proof (some of which was shown in our video above). We saw reports saying that besides the flu, researchers have found staph, E. Coli, and MRSA living on our cell phones! In fact, people are using their phones even before they leave the stall, which led researchers to find that 1 in 6 phones have fecal matter on them. This rang especially true with me – lets just say I had to change some habits. We found out the reason that our cell phones are so susceptible to bacteria is because of the warmth they radiate (especially our smart phones).
We did some tests of our own to find out how our phones compared to things we thought would be filthy. Our results were surprising:
PhoneSoap is a small box that simultaneously charges and sanitizes your cell phone using UV-C light. UV-C light is electromagnetic radiation that’s used in hospitals and clean rooms around the world. This short wavelength of light penetrates the cell wall of the bacteria and disrupts its DNA, effectively killing it. It is 99.9% effective in killing bacteria and virus’. Best of all it is completely safe.The UV-C light is only on for 3-5 minutes at a time and there is no heat or liquid involved so there is no risk of damaging your phone. There is a UV-C light on the top and on the bottom of the box so that the UV rays surround your phone for complete sanitation.
Text and Images via PhoneSoap. See more at KICKSTARTER
Terrifying Germs That Live on Your Smartphone
Thanks to The Atlantic, our previous “Universal cancer vaccine developed?” post found at The Telegraph has been demystified. Here is what Neal Emery writes for the Atlantic:
While a recent media report was more hype than science, it did focus on a promising pathway for cancer treatments.
More than 40 years after Nixon called for “a national commitment for the conquest of cancer”, is victory finally in sight?
An article published in the Telegraph on Sunday suggested that a weapon able to crush cancer had arrived. Headlined “‘Universal’ cancer vaccine developed”, the piece about Israeli Vaxil BioTherapeutics’ new drug ImMucin, has seen a deluge of interest.
Unlike November 2011 reports about the drug that were met with little fanfare, this piece has been covered by dozens of news outlets and shared 19,000 times on Facebook alone. According to the Telegraph, Vaxil’s wonderdrug, “which targets a molecule found in 90 percent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.”
Continue article HERE
3D visualizations of breast cells. Vivek Nandakumar/Arizona State University.