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Microbiology News
Thu, 28 May 2015 12:42:08 EDT
Scientists see a natural place for 'rewilded' plants in organic farming
One key element of organic agriculture is that it rejects unpredictable technologies, such as genetic engineering. But what if adding a gene from undomesticated plants to bring back a natural trait isn't unpredictable? Researchers present a case for using precise genetic engineering technologies to 'rewild' crops in a way that would make organic farming more efficient, and thus more profitable.
Wed, 27 May 2015 15:11:50 EDT
Tiny parasite may contribute to declines in honey bee colonies by infecting larvae
A tiny single-celled parasite may have a greater-than expected impact on honey bee colonies, which have been undergoing mysterious declines worldwide for the past decade, researchers have discovered. Since 2006, beekeepers in North America and Europe have lost about one-third of their managed bee colonies each year due to "colony collapse disorder." While the exact cause is unknown, scientists have speculated that pesticides, pathogens, mites and certain beekeeping practices have all contributed to this decline.
Wed, 27 May 2015 15:09:46 EDT
Diagnosing cancer with lumninescent bacteria: Engineered probiotics detect tumors in liver
Engineers have devised a new way to detect cancer that has spread to the liver, by enlisting help from probiotics -- beneficial bacteria similar to those found in yogurt. Using a harmless strain of E. coli that colonizes the liver, the researchers programmed the bacteria to produce a luminescent signal that can be detected with a simple urine test.
Wed, 27 May 2015 13:40:38 EDT
Invisible helpers of the sea: Marine bacteria boost growth of tiny ocean algae
A common diatom grows faster in the presence of bacteria that release a growth hormone known to benefit plants on land. The authors of a new report showed that these bacteria exchange material with the diatoms while in turn producing auxin, a well-known hormone made by microbes living around the roots of land plants.
Wed, 27 May 2015 12:43:55 EDT
Pinpointing natural cancer drug's true origins brings sustainable production a step closer
For decades, scientists have known that ET-743, a compound extracted from a marine invertebrate called a mangrove tunicate, can kill cancer cells. The drug has been approved for use in patients in Europe and is in clinical trials in the U.S. By analyzing the genome of the tunicate along with the microbes that live inside it using advanced sequencing techniques, researchers have been able to isolate the genetic blueprint of the ET-743's producer--which turns out to be a type of bacteria.
Wed, 27 May 2015 11:27:28 EDT
Any dose of alcohol combined with cannabis significantly increases levels of THC in blood
Cannabis plus alcohol is one of the most frequently detected drug combinations in car accidents, yet the interaction of these two compounds is still poorly understood. A study shows for the first time that the simultaneous use of alcohol and cannabis produces significantly higher blood concentrations of cannabis's main psychoactive constituent, THC, as well as THC's primary active metabolite than cannabis use alone.
Wed, 27 May 2015 10:31:14 EDT
DNA replication: Protein scaffold created by researchers
Right before a cell starts to divide to give birth to a daughter cell, its biochemical machinery unwinds the chromosomes and copies the millions of protein sequences comprising the cell's DNA, which is packaged along the length of the each chromosomal strand. These copied sequences also need to be put back together before the two cells are pulled apart. Mistakes can lead to genetic defects or cancerous mutations in future cell generations. Researchers have now charted a protein that scaffolds the chromosome along its length to help perpetuate life.
Tue, 26 May 2015 11:06:10 EDT
How DNA is organized in our cells
A critical role for two proteins in chromatin structure has been uncovered by researchers. Their breakthrough helps explain how DNA is organized in our cells. This discovery could lead to a better understanding of what causes certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma.
Tue, 26 May 2015 09:36:17 EDT
How to get high-quality RNA from chemically complex plants
RNA extraction is a notoriously tricky and sensitive lab procedure, but new protocols are quicker, more effective, and more reliable than previous methods. The protocols are featured in bench-ready form with detailed notes and a troubleshooting guide tested extensively on a diverse selection of woody, aromatic, and aquatic plants.
Tue, 26 May 2015 08:55:47 EDT
One to ovoid? Using 3-D printing, researchers can study what causes birds to reject eggs with greater precision and repeatability
For decades, researchers have been making artificial eggs out of plaster, wood, and other materials to test how birds identify and reject the eggs that invading 'brood parasites' sometimes sneak into their nests. But these methods have many limitations; a new study is the first to test the usefulness of 3-D printed eggs for research on egg rejection.
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