Flood waters are receding in Houston after the historic rainfall from Hurricane Harvey earlier this month. But the water itself was not the only threat. Flooding breached dozens of waste treatment centers, sending a deluge of bacteria throughout the city. The New York Times reports on the victims of the bacterial…
To learn more about why some germs seem harder to kill in near-weightless conditions, scientists aboard the ISS recently doused a batch of bacteria with antibiotics—an experiment which resulted in a series of startling physical changes that may be helping the bacteria to survive and thrive in space.
Reading science news all day can be real grim. Animals are dying, the climate is changing, the nuke’s a coming, yadda yadda. But sometimes (in fact, often) scientists do something that’s just neat, important, and won’t keep you up at night—that is, if you’re cool with photosynthesizing cyborg bacteria.
Scientists from the UK caused quite a stir this week, when they announced that we don’t necessarily need to complete a full course of antibiotics in order to treat infections properly. It’s a provocative message, but skeptics say their advice is grossly premature—and even reckless.
What’s a strand of DNA but data? We often think of its units, the As, Cs, Ts, and Gs, as letters of the words in an instruction manual. But what if, instead, we think of them as biological computer bits, storing the smallest unit of information? What stops scientists from harnessing the power of those units, using the…
The human body isn’t just your cells, but a home for trillions of bacteria. We know that many of those bacteria serve important purposes, and imbalances or a lack of diversity could lead to illness. But research into this field is pretty new. At least, new enough that you shouldn’t just transplant someone else’s gut…
A new experiment shows that long-term exposure to microgravity affects bacteria at the genetic level—conferring reproductive advantages that persist even after the bacteria is reintroduced to unaffected colonies and normal levels of gravity here on Earth.
Bacteria have had some pretty great PR, recently. Thanks to lots of new research about their importance to our bodies, they’re not really seen as soulless microscopic murderers anymore. They’re colorful, misunderstood beings living together outside the spotlight, freeloading in our guts in exchange for favors. In…
We consume all sorts of things before really knowing how they’re going to affect us, including probiotics and dietary supplements. But given how preliminary our understanding of our gut bacteria is, it’s very likely that some supplements can work in direct opposition of others. For instance, vitamin A might kill a…
Researchers from South Korea have engineered a strain of bacteria that infiltrates tumors and fools the body’s immune system into attacking cancer cells. In experiments, the modified bacteria worked to reduce cancer in mice, raising hope for human trials.
You probably know viruses as the demons behind your nasty cold, the not-quite-living monsters that infiltrate cells and plug in their own genetic material. But the horrible little buggers might have been crucial to forming the cells in our own bodies today.
Researchers at Ghent University have hit on a method of harvesting energy from raw sewage that treats the wastewater without using external electricity. It’s all thanks to starving bacteria. Although this method is still in its lab testing stage, industry leaders are already interested in utilizing it.
British red squirrels are being afflicted by a medieval strain of leprosy that was thought to have disappeared from Europe over 700 years ago, according to a new DNA analysis. Researchers say the chances of the dreaded disease spreading to humans is low, but the discovery suggests this strain of leprosy has been…
The US Centers for Disease Control has released a report in which it identifies over a dozen cases of a deadly, antibiotic-resistant fungus called Candida auris. It’s the first time this super-strain has been found in the US, and disturbingly, four of the first seven patients infected with it have died.
Health officials in the US have identified a cluster of gonorrhea infections that exhibited unusual resistance against the last two main antibiotics known to work against the dreaded sexually transmitted disease.
When an outbreak of food poisoning hits, we trace our culinary steps backwards in an attempt to untangle the cause, hopefully before it can hit again. But a new sensor could radically change all that.
By building a gigantic petri dish, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have produced a jaw-dropping visualization showing bacteria as it mutates to become resistant to drugs.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have taken a significant step forward in the effort to develop a vaccine against the bacteria responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and flesh-eating disease.
Scientists have discovered a microbe in the human nose that produces an antibiotic lethal to the MRSA superbug, among others. The discovery could lead to powerful new therapies to treat problematic bacterial infections, while also demonstrating the potential for the human body to produce bug-killing compounds.