A long, long time ago, a biochemist friend of mine said to me jokingly (I think): "When I hear the word lipid, I reach for my gun!" I'm not sure it was all that funny then, but any attempts at disparaging humor must cease now. A month doesn't go by without a report of a new role that lipids play in essential life processes.
Error bars in histograms remind me of detonators used to set off explosives. I am tempted to ask: "What would happen if you pushed down the plunger?" You see, in the old days people used to show the whole error bar, not just the half sticking out of the top. I'm still getting used to them, but...
Accustomed as we are to microbial surprises, we were nonetheless taken aback by a report disclosing that certain fungi grow better when exposed to ionizing radiation. According to a paper from Albert Einstein Medical School, fungi can also use radiation as a source of energy─not exactly one's view of radiation as something malevolent and baneful.
by Merry Youle
Marine bacteria have been much in the news of late, and rightfully so. There are many of them (an estimated 10 to the 29th total), they occupy specific local niches in the seas, and they carry out diverse (and sometimes previously unknown) activities. A case in point: some of them harvest energy from the sun via a system other than...
by Jennifer Gutierrez, Sabrina Perrino, Kalyn Stern, Mark Thever
As first year graduate students in microbiology, we are accustomed to microbial surprises, learning again and again how different and exciting bacteria can be. However, it is fair to say that we were not entirely prepared for the Planctomycetes─ bacteria that divide by budding, have no peptidoglycan, and possess a unique and perplexing body plan.