When studying bacteria it is quite easy to get fascinated with them as a laboratory specimen while forgetting the huge impact they can have in real life societies.
One of the great things about working with bacteria and viruses is that they can be put into suspended animation by sticking them in the freezer.
The very first line of defence against any invasion of the human body is a set of physical barriers between the inside of the body and the outer world.
Welcome to the 69th edition of the Carnival of Evolution! As February 12th was Darwin’s birthday, this is a Darwin’s Day carnival edition. To start with there’s a celebration of all things Darwinian at Synthetic Daisies, and a letter to the man himself for his 205th birthday.
I’m on holiday this week so this is an old post that appeared on my previous blog “Life of a Lab Rat” on July 1st 2010. Prokaryotes are by far the most successful superkingdom in terms of both biochemical diversity and the variety of environments conquered.
Where humans travel, bacteria will follow. If people are in space for any amount of time, bacteria are sure to thrive there so it’s good to know that there are already researchers looking at how the environment within spaceships affects bacterial populations.
When confronted with a new bacteria there are a series of simple tests that can be carried out to give a rough idea of the properties of the bacteria you are dealing with.
Like animals, plants are susceptible to infections from bacteria, viruses and fungi. While animals have a wide variety of immune cells and in some cases an interconnected immune system plants must rely on other methods to fight infection.
Research on bacterial movement tends to focus on the rod-shaped bacteria. With the aid of small waving flagella, each bacterial cell can push itself in the direction it wishes to go.
Most chemical reactions go pretty slowly at room temperature. This is good news most of the time, otherwise random parts of the environment would be exploding at regular intervals, but bad news for industrial processes which need reactions to occur.
Prions are the infective agents that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as Mad Cow Disease in humans. All prions affect the brain or neural tissues and are currently untreatable.
Last year, my New Year’s Resolution was to try for a child with my husband. As I’m currently typing while trying to entertain a three month old baby I think I can safely claim that as one of the most successful New Year’s Resolutions I’ve ever made.
DNA is important stuff. It’s present in all living organisms on the planet (or ‘almost all’ if you wish to remain friends with virologists) and contains the information required to produce and organise the proteins within a cell.
Bacteria are found in large numbers all over the human body where there is a channel to the outside world, for example in the gut, lungs, and surface of the skin.
The post this week is part of a blog-swap with Sarah Shailes (@SarahShailes) of the Plant Scientist blog. You can read my post on plant defences against bacteria over at her blog.
This month, I’m taking part in the Big Issue Knitathon! The aim of the knitathon is to get as many people as possible knitting 6” squares which will be sewn together into a giant handmade blanket.
From the point of view of a micro-organism, the human body is a prime piece of real estate. For those bacteria and fungi that can avoid or fight off the immune systems, a human provides a whole range of moist, nutrient-filled little spaces in which to live.
While I’m getting used to my new arrival the iGEM Team from Copenhagen have kindly provided a great guest post about their work over the summer.
For those wondering why there’s been such a hiatus on the blog lately – on 24th September I gave birth to my own little baby boy: Theo.
After last years rains and the late snows of winter, this summer has been a really good one for British butterflies. As August has now come to an end, and summer technically turns into autumn, I thought it was time for another butterfly post.