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Gut harbors antibiotic resistance

By | August 27, 2009

The millions of microbes that crowd the human intestinal tract are teeming with new antibiotic resistance genes that could jump to disease-causing pathogens, according to researchers from Harvard University.An artist's conception of microbialecology in the gut. Pathogenic bacteria(green coats) receiving Penicillinresistance genes from beneficialgut bacteria (blue rounded chains)Image courtesy of A. Canossa, M.Sommer and G. Dantas They found more than 90 undiscovered bacterial genes capable of c


Bird sex gene found

By | August 26, 2009

Researchers have cracked the long-time mystery of how sex is determined in birds: A dose-dependent effect of a single gene on one of the sex chromosomes does the trick, according to a study published this week in Nature. Image: Wikimedia commons, linkurl:HerbertT; "It's a major advance," said physiologist and geneticist linkurl:Art Arnold; of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not invo


Safety review for obesity drug

By | August 25, 2009

The linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration; linkurl:announced yesterday; (August 24) that it was reviewing reports of liver injury -- including 6 cases of liver failure and 27 hospitalizations -- in patients taking the weight loss drug orlistat, mark


Bee calamity clarified

By | August 24, 2009

An illness that has been decimating US honeybees for more than three years probably isn't caused by a single virus, but by multiple viruses that wear down the bees' ability to produce proteins that can guard them against infection, according to a new study.Image: courtesy of Joseph Spencer "We may not have the smoking gun," University of Illinois entomologist linkurl:May Berenbaum,; the study's main author, told __The Scientist__, bu


Four years in jail for Hwang?

By | August 24, 2009

Disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk may face jail time, if South Korean prosecutors have anything to do with it. The prosecutors told the Seoul court today (August 24) that fabricating research findings on human stem cell lines and misusing more than $2 million in state funds calls for a four-year prison term, linkurl:reports Reuters; . Pro-Hwang protest at Seoul National University in February 2006Image: Wikimedia commonsAfter linkurl:suspicion was raised about Hw


PhDs in the funny pages

By | August 21, 2009

It's 4 AM. Two grad students sit across the table from each other hunched over textbooks, looking bleary-eyed. One boy asks the other, "Why are we doing this?" His friend looks up and responds through a haze of exhaustion and self-pity: "You mean, why are we submitting ourselves to grad school instead of working out there, getting rich, getting enough sleep and actually enjoying life?" "No," the first boy replies. "I mean why are we doing the problems from the wrong chapter?" This scene fro


Student fudged immunology data

By | August 21, 2009

A former graduate student studying the link between immune function and symptoms of high cholesterol at the linkurl:Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport; fudged data in three published papers and one manuscript under review, according to linkurl:a report by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).; Image: Wikimedia commonsRyan Wolfort admitted to "fabricating tabulations and the assoc


Battle of the nostrils?

By | August 20, 2009

When the nostrils sense different smells, they may be duking it out for the brain's attention, according to a study published online today (August 20) in Current Biology. Such rivalry, well-documented in other sensory systems, has never before been shown for the olfactory system. Image: Flickr/linkurl: tuexperto_com3; "It's an interesting study," said linkurl:Jay Gottfried,; a neuroscie

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Building better bacteria

By | August 20, 2009

Researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed a technique for generating modified strains of bacteria with novel, genetically engineered properties, they report online today (August 20) in Science. The advance could help scientists tweak microorganisms to more efficiently produce biofuels, the researchers say. Modified M. Mycoides Image: The J. Craig Venter Institute "I think it's an important and interesting advance," said linkurl:James Collins,; a bioen


Human stem cell trial on hold

By | August 20, 2009

The linkurl:Geron Corporation; linkurl:announced on Tuesday; (August 18) that its stem cell study of spinal cord injury -- the first-ever clinical trial using human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based therapy -- has been put on hold by the linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration; (FDA) pending the review of some newly submitted animal data. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty


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