Trillions of microorganisms colonize sites all over the human body including the nose, respiratory tract, intestines and skin. Each microbial hotspot hosts a collection of different microorganisms called the microbiota. The microbiota is comprised of many different kinds of bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes and viruses. These microorganisms are much more than passengers in our bodies; instead they … Continue reading It takes a village (of billions of microbes) to raise a child
This week on PLoSibilities we are trying something new... infographics! Instead of summarizing a scientific article in a short post, our student writer Qendresa created an infographic to describe the study design and results. Interested in trying something similar, but don't know where to start? Contact PLoSibilities to learn more The relationship between cellphone and … Continue reading How cellphone use may impact memory in teens
One hundred years since the devastating Spanish flu pandemic that killed more than 50 million people, influenza viruses are still causing world-wide morbidity and mortality. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), seasonal flu causes 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths per year worldwide. Vaccination is the first … Continue reading The Future of Flu Vaccines
Global warming is dramatically changing arctic marine ecosystems. As global temperatures increase, glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. These environmental changes threaten arctic mammals, such as polar bears, who rely on sea ice for resting, walking, stalking, and nursing. With the rapid decline in the amount and thickness of arctic ice, polar bears, … Continue reading Can arctic mammals adapt to global warming?
You might have heard about lyme disease being transmitted by ticks, but did you know that it is caused by a bacterium that can infect your brain and other parts of the body? The bacteria in question is named Borrelia burgdorferi. By entering a type of brain cell called neuroglia, these bacteria can evade immune … Continue reading Your brain: A new home for lyme disease-causing bacteria
North American Honeybees have gained media attention over the past decade because of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), whereby bee colonies experience massive die-offs. We’ve known about CCD since 2006, but we don’t know its underlying cause. CCD is a big problem because plants reproduce through pollination, and bees are a major pollinator. This means that … Continue reading To bee or not to bee? Can you tell if a beehive has CCD?
In popular culture, we often think of a single gene being responsible for a single physical trait. For example, in the X-Men movies, all of the X-Men have their superpowers because of a single mutant “X Gene”. In reality, the relationship between an organism’s genotype (all of its genetic information) and phenotype (what its body … Continue reading Can Fruit Flies Help Us Predict the Course of Evolution?