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Microbiology News
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:13:39 EST
First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life
Scientists have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria that are believed to be about as small as life can get. The existence of ultra-small bacteria has been debated for two decades, but there hasn't been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now. The cells have an average volume of 0.009 cubic microns (one micron is one millionth of a meter). About 150 of these bacteria could fit inside an Escherichia coli cell and more than 150,000 cells could fit onto the tip of a human hair.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:10:18 EST
Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved
Counter-intuitively, in vertebrates photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye. Now physicists explain why the neural wiring seems to be backwards.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:26:39 EST
Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer
Researchers have long sought an efficient way to untangle DNA to study its structure -- neatly unraveled and straightened out -- under a microscope. Now, researchers have devised a simple and effective solution: they inject genetic material into a droplet of water and use a pipet tip to drag it over a glass plate covered with a sticky polymer.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:25:04 EST
Transient details of HIV genome packaging captured
Once HIV-1 has hijacked a host cell to make copies of its own RNA genome and viral proteins, it must assemble these components into new virus particles. The orchestration of this intricate assembly process falls to a viral protein known as Gag. For one thing, Gag must be able to discern viral RNA from the host cell’s and squirrel it away inside new viral particles — no easy task considering only two to three percent of the RNA found in the cytoplasm is from HIV-1. Exactly how Gag selectively packages viral RNA has been widely speculated but never directly observed.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:46:01 EST
Quick test for quality beer, milk
To guarantee a high quality of their beer, breweries monitor the production process very closely. With a new polymer powder, this monitoring will be able to be faster and simpler in the future. Manufacturers can also test drinks such as milk, juice, cola and red wine with the quick check.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:45:46 EST
Antibiotic resistant salad: Resistant Listeria monocytogenes not as widespread as thought
Antibiotic-resistant strains of the food-poisoning microbe Listeria monocytogenes in unprocessed salad products is not quite as widespread as scientists originally suspected. A new study reveals that strains of the microbe falling into six distinct groups can all be found on such products, but 82 percent of those strains succumb to at least one of sixteen common antibiotics used in veterinary and human listeriosis treatment.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:46:01 EST
Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes' sexual biology
Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers. "Our study is the first to reveal the evolutionary dynamics between the sexes that are likely responsible for shaping the ability of Anopheles mosquitoes to transmit malaria to humans," said the study's senior author.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:49:09 EST
Role of specialized protein affirmed in assuring normal cell development
A specialized DNA-binding protein called CTCF is essential for the precise expression of genes that control the body plan of a developing embryo, scientists have demonstrated. The findings focus on mouse brain cells that work to manage an animal's movements. The results add important details to how so-called Hox genes help cells keep their positions straight and in the right positions back to front.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:48:59 EST
Fighting Colorado potato beetle with RNA interference
Colorado potato beetles are a dreaded pest of potatoes. Since they do not have natural enemies in most regions, farmers try to control them with pesticides. However, this strategy is often ineffective because the pest has developed resistances against nearly all insecticides. Now, scientists have shown that potato plants can be protected from herbivory using RNA interference.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:14:12 EST
Living in genetic comfort zone: How to avoid influence of genetic variation
The phenotype of organisms is shaped by the interaction between environmental factors and their genetic constitution. A recent study by a team of population geneticists shows that fruit flies live in a sort of genetic comfort zone at a specific temperature. The scientists found that, despite their underlying genetic differences, two separate strains of flies had a very similar gene expression pattern at 18°C. This effect of 'canalization', which has also been described in humans, allows organisms to continue to grow and develop stable even in the face of genetic and environmental stress.
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