William StudierTracing the history, genetic makeup of workhorse laboratory bacteria

An international team of researchers from the United States, Korea, and France has sequenced and analyzed the genomes of two important laboratory strains of E. coli bacteria, one used to study evolution and the other to produce proteins for basic research or practical applications. The findings will help guide future research and will also open a window to a deeper understanding of classical research that is the foundation of our understanding of basic molecular biology and genetics.

The team, which includes two researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, published its results online on October 17, 2009, in three papers in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

U of C, Parks Canada investigating causes of noxious river algae

It’s nicknamed `rock snot’ for pretty obvious reasons, but its source is anything but obvious. The University of Calgary is working with Parks Canada to learn more about this noxious algae’s origins and cause of growth.

Leland Jackson, professor and associate head of grad studies in the Department of Biological Sciences, discovered Didymosphenia geminata, also known as ‘didymo,’ when he was conducting research on land use and its effect on the Red Deer, Oldman and Bow rivers in 2004.

Yiping HanThe best way to keep bacteria from doing any damage is to stop them before they start down their pathological road to destruction.

Yiping Han, associate professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, aims to understand how to block a common bacterium that’s harmless in a mother’s mouth but can turn deadly when it reaches an unborn child. She has received a five-year, $1.85 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health to fund the effort.

Andrew AndersonIt would be hard to blame BYU undergrad Andrew Anderson had he decided to keep the large, brightly colored cutthroat trout he hoisted from a local mountain stream.

Instead Anderson practiced a partial form of catch-and-release that would leave seasoned anglers scratching their heads. Before returning the fish to water to swim another day, Anderson snipped a piece of tail fin and tucked it away in a plastic sandwich bag full of ice.

Of course, you don’t need much of a fish if you only want its DNA.

In a finding with potentially major implications for identifying a viral cause of prostate cancer, a type of virus known to cause leukemia and sarcomas in animals has been found for the first time in malignant human prostate cancer cells.

In a finding with potentially major implications for identifying a viral cause of prostate cancer, researchers at the University of Utah and Columbia University medical schools have reported that a type of virus known to cause leukemia and sarcomas in animals has been found for the first time in malignant human prostate cancer cells.

Casey HubertResults point to potential use of microbes in offshore oil and gas exploration

A team of scientists led by University of Calgary grad Casey Hubert, Phd, has detected high numbers of heat loving, or thermophilic, bacteria in subzero sediments in the Arctic Ocean off the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The bacterial spores might provide a unique opportunity to trace seepages of fluids from hot sub-seafloor habitats, possibly pointing towards undiscovered offshore petroleum reservoirs.  These thermophiles exist in the Arctic Ocean sediment as spores—dormant forms that withstand adverse conditions for long periods, waiting for better times. Experimental incubations at 40 to 60 degrees Celsius revive the Arctic spores, which appear to have been transported from deeper hot spots.

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