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Bacteria under attack by a flock of bacteriophages. Graham Beards/Wikimedia Commons

Designer viruses could be the new antibiotics

Bacterial infections remain a major threat to human and animal health. Worse still, the catalogue of useful antibiotics is shrinking as pathogens build up resistance to these drugs. There are few promising…
John O'Keefe , left, and Edvard and May-Britt Moser. David Bishop, UCL and NTNU

Nobel Prize in medicine: decades of work on ‘the brain’s GPS’ recognised

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded with one half to John O'Keefe and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a…
Soon to be grown for ornamental use only. Mark Nesbitt and Samuel Delwen

Microbial factories could produce locally brewed painkillers

The past few decades have seen enormous progress being made in synthetic biology – the idea that simple biological parts can be tweaked to do our bidding. One of the main targets has been hacking the biological…
From tree to biofuel in few steps. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Green combination helps turn wood into biofuels

Turning wood and agricultural waste into biofuels is one step closer to being a truly green process, according to a recently published study in the journal Science. James Dumesic of the University of Wisconsin-Madison…
Glowing plants are frivolous? Most people don’t think so. jsalamandras

DIY scientists should not trade creativity for funding

The hobbyists who conduct biology in their garage are not a threat to society, according to a recent report published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. They aren’t developing a new…
No more reindeer? Andrew Milligan/PA

No money in post, so why was Royal Mail a good buy?

Royal Mail has been privatised. Even after Margaret Thatcher’s frenzy in the 1980s, it was one of the last UK public enterprises left; now, the coalition government has sold 52% of Royal Mail. Whereas…
C. Elegans alive (left) and dead (right). Wellcome Trust

The worm that died in a blaze of blue glory

Never has “feeling blue” carried such a sense of finality. A new study has revealed the simple worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) meets its death in a flash of azure. And, according to researchers, the blue…
The molecule that causes the eel to glow when blue light is shone on it is unlike any found in other living organisms. Akiko Kumagai & Atsushi Miyawaki

Protein from sushi snack may help detect liver diseases

Researchers have discovered a fluorescent protein in a Japanese eel consumed as a popular sushi snack. The discovery could help develop simpler and more sensitive tests to detect jaundice and other diseases…

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