‘Semi-synthetic’ organism expands DNA base alphabet

‘Semi-synthetic’ organism expands DNA base alphabet

Every living thing on Earth stores the instructions for life as DNA, using the four genetic bases A, G, C, ...
Evolutionary tradeoffs: How DNA works so living things have a 'competitive advantage' to survive

Evolutionary tradeoffs: How DNA works so living things have a ‘competitive advantage’ to survive

Evolution is a game of trade-offs. Every trait an organism inherits may have benefits and drawbacks; what matters to natural ...
Insecticide resistance threatens to derail malaria control in Africa

Insecticide resistance threatens to derail malaria control in Africa

The largest genetic study of mosquitoes has found their ability to resist insecticides is evolving rapidly and spreading across Africa, ...
Hepatitis B treatable with unique new strategy—using bacterial DNA

Hepatitis B treatable with unique new strategy—using bacterial DNA

Two hepatitis B virus vaccines are currently on the market. Earlier in November, however, the Food and Drug Administration licensed ...
Bacterial DNA used in innovative Hepatitis B vaccines

Bacterial DNA used in innovative Hepatitis B vaccines

Two hepatitis B virus vaccines are currently on the market. Earlier this month, however, the Food and Drug Administration licensed ...
Non-antibiotic sepsis-fighting drug could save millions of lives

Non-antibiotic sepsis-fighting drug could save millions of lives

The state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in southeast India is perhaps not the first place you’d expect to find a ...
The leaves on the tree of life are almost all microbes

The leaves on the tree of life are almost all microbes

Planet of the insects? Heck no. Planet of the microbes. Science has long struggled with estimating how many species of ...
Can the microbiome join DNA and fingerprints in the CSI toolkit?

Can the microbiome join DNA and fingerprints in the CSI toolkit?

Some scientists argue that our individual microbiomes are unique enough that they can be used to help identify the perpetrators ...
Biopesticides: Creating a mosquito-fighting bacteria wasn't easy—or fast

Biopesticides: Creating a mosquito-fighting bacteria wasn’t easy—or fast

[A]fter decades of international scientific effort, a new mosquito biopesticide (a pesticide that uses natural bacteria) has been approved. And it only took a year and ...
Could ‘superantibiotics’ save us from rising drug resistance?

Could ‘superantibiotics’ save us from rising drug resistance?

The need for new classes of antibiotics has repeatedly been emphasised, with researchers turning to some of the most extreme environments on ...
The quest to make CRISPR gene editing as easy as a smartphone app

The quest to make CRISPR gene editing as easy as a smartphone app

[Biohacker Josiah Zayner] lives and works in Oakland, California, where he's converted a house into a scientific lab. Here, he ...
Gut microbiome could influence response to cancer treatment

Gut microbiome could influence response to cancer treatment

When [cancer] drugs work, the immune system tramples tumors into oblivion. But they don’t always work—in fact, cancer drugs can ...
Deep freeze: Will climate change awaken long-frozen diseases?

Deep freeze: Will climate change awaken long-frozen diseases?

I visited Greenland because, lately, the land here has gone soft, and disquieting things threaten to wake in it. … ...
How do you define 'species’? Turns out, it's not so easy

How do you define ‘species’? Turns out, it’s not so easy

At first glance, “species” is a basic vocabulary word school children can ace on a test by reciting something close ...
Universally shared biodata could create powerful ‘internet of living things’

Universally shared biodata could create powerful ‘internet of living things’

Imagine students in universities becoming the first “sequencing line of defense” by detecting bacteria resistant to antibiotics and educating their ...
Why Alzheimer’s patients have abnormal gut bacteria

Why Alzheimer’s patients have abnormal gut bacteria

People suffering from Alzheimer's disease have altered gut bacteria, a new study published in Scientific Reports shows. ... A team of researchers primarily ...
Deteriorating bio-libraries house thousands of disappearing cultures and deadly diseases

Deteriorating bio-libraries house thousands of disappearing cultures and deadly diseases

Freeze-dried and locked away in liquid nitrogen–filled vaults around the world are hundreds of thousands of microbial cultures. In the ...
Women’s reproductive organs abound with microorganisms—studying them helping in disease research

Women’s reproductive organs abound with microorganisms—studying them helping in disease research

Women's reproductive organs are home to plenty of microorganisms, and identifying them may help us improve women's health. Scientists have ...
Time to stop treating men and women the same when it comes to drug treatments

Time to stop treating men and women the same when it comes to drug treatments

Studies have shown that males and females metabolize drugs differently, suggesting we should be spending more time studying those differences ...
De-extinction debate: Why we should bring back the woolly mammoth

De-extinction debate: Why we should bring back the woolly mammoth

De-extinction is just what it sounds like: taking a species that has gone extinct, and through cloning or genetic engineering, ...
New species may be created by cellular 'mitonuclear conflict'

New species may be created by cellular ‘mitonuclear conflict’

In the complex cells of humans and other organisms, two different genomes collaborate to sustain life. The larger genome, with ...
Synthetic bionics: E. coli pills could boost body's ability to absorb ammonia in the gut

Synthetic bionics: E. coli pills could boost body’s ability to absorb ammonia in the gut

Synlogic of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company behind the unusual study, is testing what it calls “synthetic biotics,” or bacteria engineered ...
Flu vaccine works better on some younger people—if you have the right genetics

Flu vaccine works better on some younger people—if you have the right genetics

Nine genes are tied to a strong immune response to the flu vaccine in people 35 and under, a new ...
Edible ‘CRISPR pill’ could make harmful bacteria self-destruct

Edible ‘CRISPR pill’ could make harmful bacteria self-destruct

As resistance to antibiotics grows in the U.S., researchers are looking for new ways to fight germs like Clostridium difficile, a ...
Modified polio virus could be used as cancer treatment

Modified polio virus could be used as cancer treatment

A protein common on some types of cancer cell turns out to be the same one that in other circumstances ...
Virus dangers: Zika, SARS, dengue, 24 others could be transmitted through semen

Virus dangers: Zika, SARS, dengue, 24 others could be transmitted through semen

A dig through the literature has uncovered evidence of 27 distinct viruses from a wide variety of families capable of ...
Chemotherapy drugs can be blocked by bacteria hiding in cancer cells

Chemotherapy drugs can be blocked by bacteria hiding in cancer cells

Of all the kinds of bacteria, some are charming and beneficial, others are malicious and dangerous—and then there are the ...
Multiple sclerosis added to list of diseases exacerbated by gut microbes

Multiple sclerosis added to list of diseases exacerbated by gut microbes

The trillions of bacteria that live in our intestines, known collectively as the gut microbiome, have been linked to maladies ...