Combating mosquitoes without insecticides: a job for bacteria


Summer: sun, holidays but also ... mosquitoes! At the top of the list of the most annoying animals, the tiger mosquito has been tormenting Italian people for about 30 years. Since then, we have fought the stinging enemy with insecticides, lamps, sprays and coils, up to more sophisticated techniques such as genetic manipulation. Now researchers have recently discovered their weak point: tiger mosquitoes need a particular bacterium to reproduce.

bacteria, mosquitoes , insecticides

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Phage therapy: a “modern” approach against antibiotic resistance

phage therapy

A 15-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis who suffered from an antibiotic-resistant mycobacterium infection has been treated thanks to a "modern" therapeutic approach, phage therapy. Not so modern actually, given that the first experiments date back to the 20s of the last century. But it has only recently been rediscovered and proposed as a valid alternative to antibiotic therapy, especially in the case of resistant bacteria, which are going to become more and more threatening.

Phage therapy, antibiotic resistance

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Even dolphins suffer from Alzheimer’s disease

dolphins alzheimer

Intelligent and curious, they love to interact with each other and also with humans. We look more like dolphins than we think ... for better and for worse. They are in fact the only wild species in the world in which a form of Alzheimer has been found, which is similar to the human one. A "natural" model that has raised the interest of scientists, opening a new line of research that helps to combat the disease even in humans.

Alzheimer, dolphin

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Sex as a defense against transmissible tumors: a new hypothesis

sex reprod

Sexual reproduction imposes long and annoying formalities, such as searching and courting a partner. But it is definitely worth it: the genetic mixing prevents the appearance of dangerous mutations and increases the chances of fighting parasites and pathogens. Once again, someone has spoken in favor of sex: a group of researchers from the University of Montpellier has claimed that its evolution could have been driven by the need to combat transmissible tumors.

Sexual reproduction, transmissible tumors

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Nanobodies from alpacas can fight solid tumors

nanobodies alpacas CART

They are funny to look at, mild and intelligent: that was what we knew about alpacas until 1989. That year, two students discovered by chance one important feature that has long remained unknown. This and other species belonging to camelid family have "miniature" antibodies: smaller than ours and those of most mammals, they can reach even the most difficult targets. Researchers at Boston Children 's Hospital used the so called “nanobodies” to make CAR-T cells better at solid tumors. The study has been published in the journal PNAS.

nanobodies, fight solid tumors

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