Natural experiment, dogged investigation, yield clue to devastating neurological disease

A researcher has finally pinpointed the cause of a serious neurologic disease in a colony of rats. New research has just shown that the rat abnormality closely resembles a rare human mutation that results in severe neurologic dysfunction. The human disease can affect many parts of the brain and has been called H-ABC.

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Fungi have enormous potential for new antibiotics

Fungi are a potential goldmine for the production of pharmaceuticals. This is shown by researchers who have developed a method for finding new antibiotics from nature’s own resources. The findings could prove very useful in the battle against antibiotic resistance.

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Action required: Invasive fungus is killing European salamanders

A new fungal disease brought in from Asia is threatening European salamanders. Once the amphibians become infected, they die within a brief period of time, report biologists. Because saving the infected populations is still not possible, Switzerland has preventively imposed an import ban for salamanders and newts.

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Researchers create red-eyed mutant wasps

A new strain of red-eyed mutant wasps has been brought into the world by a team of scientists. The wasps were created to prove that CRISPR gene-slicing technology can be used successfully on the tiny parasitic jewel wasps, giving scientists a new way to study some of the wasp’s interesting biology, such as how males can convert all their progeny into males by using selfish genetic elements.

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Bacteriophages, natural drugs to combat superbugs

Viruses that specifically kill bacteria, called bacteriophages, might one day help solve the growing problem of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment.

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Study finds amoeba ‘grazing,’ killing bacteria usually protected by film

A professor of bacteriology has shown the first proof that a certain group of amoeba called dictyostelids can penetrate biofilms and eat the bacteria within.

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Chaining up diarrhea pathogens

Researchers have clarified how vaccinations can combat bacterial intestinal diseases: vaccine-induced antibodies in the intestine chain up pathogens as they grow in the intestine, which prevents disease and surprisingly also hinders the spread of antibiotic resistance.

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Termite gut holds a secret to breaking down plant biomass

The incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect’s natural gift for turning wood to dust.

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Science fiction horror wriggles into reality with discovery of giant sulfur-powered shipworm

Our world seems to grow smaller by the day as biodiversity rapidly dwindles, but Mother Earth still has a surprise or two up her sleeve. An international team of researchers were the first to investigate a never before studied species a giant, black, mud dwelling, worm-like animal.

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New method for tapping vast plant pharmacopeia to make more effective drugs

Geneticists have developed an effective method for identifying the plant genes that produce the chemical ammunition plants use to protect themselves from predation and is a natural source of many important drugs.

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Zika RNA now found in a second mosquito species

Zika RNA has now been found in Aedes albopictus. That’s not the species — known as Aedes aegypti — most often associated with Zika. But scientists have never discounted Aedes albopictus as another possible carrier of the potentially deadly virus.

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Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis

Photosynthesis requires a mechanism to produce large amounts of chemical energy without losing the oxidative power needed to break down water. A research team has clarified part of this mechanism, marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis.

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