Natural Gut Viruses Join Bacterial “Cousins” in Maintaining Health and Fighting Infections

In a study led by Ken Cadwell, PhD, at NYU Langone Medical Center, microbiologists say they have what may be the first strong evidence that the natural presence of viruses in the gut—or what they call the ‘virome’—plays a health-maintenance and infection-fighting role similar to that of the intestinal bacteria that dwell there and make up the “microbiome.” In their report on their work published in the journal Nature online, the researchers say they also found that MNV bolstered the immune system in fighting off tissue damage. Read more…


New Tool Could Help Reshape the Limits of Synthetic Biology

NYU Langone yeast geneticists report they have developed a novel tool—dubbed “the telomerator”—that could redefine the limits of synthetic biology and advance how successfully living things can be engineered or constructed in the laboratory based on an organism’s genetic, chemical base-pair structure. Synthetic biologists aim to use such “designer” microorganisms to produce novel medicines, nutrients, and biofuels. In a report in PNAS, researchers, led by Jef Boeke, PhD, a professor and director of NYULMC Institute for Systems Genetics, say the telomerator should also improve study of yeast genetics and help determine how genes and the chromosomes housing them, interact with each other. Read more…