Commonly prescribed drugs called fluoroquinolones, the fourth-most used class of antibiotics in the US, have been shown to cause rare, disabling side effects. Patients have experienced pain in tendons, joints and muscles, neurological and psychological difficulties. Researchers now have a few theories why such symptoms may occur.
Epidemics have plagued human populations for thousands of years, but there are very few clues as to what pathogens may have caused massive epidemics in the past. Scientists are using new techniques to extract and analyze ancient DNA, and what they have found may give us information about how things happened nearly 500 years ago.
MIT engineers devised new 3D printing technique that uses ink made from genetically programmed living cells. Printed layer by layer, cells, and nutrients in hydrogel form three-dimensional, interactive structure. They light up in response to a variety of stimuli and turn into living devices.
Scientists managed to add X and Y nucleotide bases to Escherichia coli bacteria’s natural genetic alphabet and create entirely new, synthetic proteins. This is a major step toward creating artificial life but the goal of their study was actually to develop a novel protein-based drug treatments.
The first reference database of the microbes colonizing the planet was constructed by more than 500 scientists. They contributed over 27,000 samples of microbiomes from diverse environments around the globe. The Earth Microbiome Project is a massive global research collaboration that resulted in ‘recapturing’ half of all known bacterial sequences.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham discovered an unsettling link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and triclosan, a disinfectant commonly found in household cleaning products.
Scientists developed a strain of Salmonella that fights aggressive brain cancers which produced a remarkable 20% rate of tumor remission in a rat model, where there are normally no survivors. The bacteria were genetically equipped with a sophisticated tumor-homing mechanism along with cancer fighting weapons, causing the tumors to effectively self-destruct.
An international collaboration of scientists successfully produced a stable artificial strain of bacteria with an extended “genetic alphabet”. The microbe encompasses two additional “X” and “Y” nucleotides, which enable it to store increased information within its genome, laying foundations for new forms of life.
Everything we touch and consume leaves traces on our skin and in our body. The food we eat, people and materials we interact with and even the cosmetics we use, all contribute to the properties of our bioflora.
While bacterial infections usually are a bad thing, they can now be used as a therapy to treat medical conditions, for instance, cancer.