Biomysteries Episode 3 – The Telomere Effect

telomeres age

Image Courtesy: FreeGrab

Being a human being the question does arise about our mortality, diseases and aging. Human beings are made up of zillions of cells and inside each cells there is nucleus. The nucleus is an essential part to protect our genetic information. Telomeres are one such part of the chromosome present at the tip of 23 pairs that preserve our genetic information.

These telomeres get shorten each time our cell divides. Thus as we grow older the telomeres get more shorten thus leading to cell death. Telomere shortening is an important reason for aging. It is the fuse of our cells which we are dependent on.

So why do we have telomeres? Do we need them? Why does it get shorten? Does any tissues we have that telomeres does not get shorten?

The questions are answered here in this Episode.

Listen online or download the audio here [opens in new window]


Please find here the associated links related to this podcast:

  1. Are telomeres the key to Aging and Cancer. Genetics Science Learning Center. (Link)
  2. Shammas M. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 2011;14(1):28-34. (Link)
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3 things you need for Science Communication

Science communication is much more important while you are involved with experimental science. There are science communicators who are even not associated with core science that we researchers publish in research journals. It is much difficult to express science in simplified way than the scientific terms used in research papers.


Image courtesy: Mediomix

The platform of science communication has been developing through blog posts, audio podcast, video lessons, etc. The choice of the platform depends on the confidence, understanding and concise expression.

If you are new in science communication or wonder to start a blog then here are three important things you should follow:

[Video Link shared through twitter] Opens in New Window.

Please comment your thoughts about science communication and will reply most of them.

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Biomysteries Episode 2: Breaking Down the Outer wall of Gram Negative Bacteria


Several groups of gram negative bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The antibiotics that can able to target gram-positive bacteria cannot able to target gram negative bacteria. The thick outer wall of gram negative bacteria is impermeable to antibiotics. A recent research that published in the journal Nature provided an effective solution that can act as a Trojan Horse to enter inside the gram negative bacteria and can also able to terminate.

Click Here to Listen Online or Download (open in new tab)

Links related to this episode:

  1. Richter, MF et al. Predictive compound accumulation rules yield a borad spectrum antibiotic. Nature 2017; doi:10.1038/nature22308 (Link)
  2. What is Antibiotic? (Link)
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Biomysteries Episode 1 – What is science communication?


Image: Nicolas Pettican Perez

Science communication is an integral part after experimentation. There are huge amount of research that is published every day and updated regularly. As a science communicator it is important to look into the importance, the hypothesis and profitable outcome.

So why we need to communicate science to general audience? Find it out in audio podcast of Biomysteries Episode 1

Listen online or download file here. (opens in new tab google drive share)

If you have questions and recommendations then please comment. I will try to reply most of your comments.

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A big picture of Ebola Transmission during 2013-2016 outbreak can stop future outbreaks


Days since last case of Ebola at Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia (Courtesy: CDC)

A globalized effort by international team of scientists, clinicians, non-governmental organizations, drug companies and many more to eradicate Ebola that shook with vast West African epidemic was brought down in 2016. A review article co-authored with Dr. Aftab Ahmad and Mr. Sagar Aryal, we tried to depict about the Ebola Outbreak situation including the controversies and solutions. What was the situation of Ebola at the end of 2016? At Biomysteries you can follow the post “Where is Ebola now? 2016 update” to find the concluding situation of Ebola.

A recent research that published in the journal Nature on 12th April 2016, international group of scientists analyzed the entire database of Ebola virus genomes for 2013 to 2016 West African Epidemic. The analysis revealed about the epidemic unfolded in small overlapping outbreaks and spread by infected travelers incite new outbreak elsewhere, this is how the transmission chain continued. But in each case it represented a missed opportunity to break that chain of transmission to make the epidemic end sooner.

In West African Ebola outbreak caused massive transmission affecting nearly 28,000 people and killing 11,000 of them. The database revealed 1,610 Ebola virus genomes have more than 5 percent of known cases – this is the largest sample analyzed for human epidemic. Pushing back the previous analysis that was focused on only single country, this research was based on three primary countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that were more affected by Ebola.

Another hold or importance of the paper was the united collaboration from 86 scientists from 60 different institutions from 18 different countries authored this paper. Authors’ intention was to provide a complete framework for predicting future outbreak for Ebola Virus or other similar viral spread.


Please find the video above here showing three countries (Guinea in green, Sierra Leone in Blue and Liberia in red) that were mostly affected in Ebola 2013-2016 epidemic. The differential shading defines weekly incidence rates of Ebola Virus disease. In association to that the evolutionary tree on right shows the relationships between sampled Ebola lineages.

Journal Source:

Dudas G, Carvalho L, Bedford T, Tatem A, Baele G, Faria N et al. Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic. Nature. 2017; doi:10.1038/nature22040

Further Reading:

Sarkar S. Where is Ebola now? 2016 update. Biomysteries

Sarkar S, Aryal S, Ahmed A. The Ebola Outbreak – Controversies and Solutions 2014-15. International Journal of Microbiology and Allied Sciences. 2015; 1(4):10-17 (Link)

Posted in Bioinformatics Tools, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Uncategorized, Virology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

MiTalk Episode 4: Basics of Hepatitis C Virology

episode-4-hcvHepatitis is caused by the inflammation of the liver. The condition may also progress to cirrhosis or fibrosis and/or even liver cancer. Hepatitis is caused by an infection of virus, but apart from this causative agent toxic substances like alcohol or certain drugs and autoimmune diseases can also cause this disease.

There are five different classes of hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. In this episode of Microbiology Talk (MiTalk) we discussed about Hepatitis virus C, especially covering the following topics:

  1. Classification of Hepatitis virus and Structure of Hepatitis C Virus
  • Classification or Types (A, B, C, D and E)
  • Structure and Genome of Virus
  1. Genotypes and Epidemiology statistics
  • Genotypes
  • Epidemiology
  • World, USA, South-East Asia, India, Nepal
  1. Pathogenesis and Life cycle
  • Mechanism of transmission
  • Cellular entry and replication mechanism
  • Viral evasion and restriction factors
  1. Laboratory diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis C

So plug in your headphone and listen to Episode 4 of MiTalk. (Visit Here/Download Here)

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Mesentery – The New Organ can now change the history of Human Anatomy

Although the scientific research is advancing in recent times there are many things which still remained unexplored. In biomysteries lets me introduce you to a new organ that remained unexplored. Researchers from Ireland identified a part of our digestive tract, that was long considered to be a mere tissue is actually a full grown organ that connects abdomen to intestine. This new organ has shook the medical fields researchers to look into new understanding about bowel disease and other gut diseases.


Digital representation of peritoneum, mesentery, fascia, and intestine (Image: The Lancet, Prof. Calvin Coffey)

The new organ is named Mesentery which was long been known but never considered to be an organ. It has a complex and fragmented appearance. The anatomic description of mesocolon dates back in 1885 when Sir Frederick Treves studied human mesentery on 100cadavers. But until recently from a study carried out from University of Limeric has concluded Mesentery as a full grown organ.

Professor J. Calvin Coffey who is the professor of Surgery explained how 100years of anatomical understanding was incorrect. Some of the recent text books now need to be updated as the number of organs in our body has officially changed into 79. Although re-classification would not affect directly but will provide a clear picture of many unknown facts of bowel diseases.

Journal Source:

Coffey JC, O’Leary DP. The Mesentery: structure, function and role in disease. The Lancet (2016) 1(3):238-247. DOI:

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Older than “Oldest Water Found” in Canada – Unfolds mystery about Life on Earth

“Where there is life there is hope” – it has been an important quote we use to deliver anything significant about “hope”. Similarly a biological mystery was brought near at Canada where scientists had came for the oldest water, has given much more insights about even older deposits.

Back in 2013, a research team which was led by scientists from University of Toronto found water that was about a billion years of old from depth of 2.4 Km at Timmins mine. But the research findings from much beyond 2.4 Kms have insights of water which is about 2billion years older.


Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Image: Sherwood Lollar Research Group)

In an interview with BBC News Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar who led this investigation said, “When people think about this water they assume it must be some tiny amount of water trapped within the rock. But in fact it’s very much bubbling right up out at you. These things are flowing at rates of litres per minute – the volume of the water is much larger than anyone anticipated.”


This new investigation was carried out at a depth of about 3Km.

The research holds its importance to unfold the unique insight about the history of Earth and the origin of life. The chemical traces left behind by microbes that once lived in historic era can also unveil many mysteries.

“By looking at the sulphate in the water, we were able to see a fingerprint that’s indicative of the presence of life,” said Prof Lollar.

Apart from this amazing discovery, such important findings of watery sites on Earth can provide clues about life which might present elsewhere within the Solar System.

Read More:

World’s oldest water gets even older. BBC News.

Two-billion-year-old water found in Canada. The Weather Network.


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Wondered why some pink stuff growing in bathroom?


You probably have freaked out sometimes by seeing the mysterious pink streaks on toilet walls or bathtubs. But have you wondered what these are? In Biological Mysteries this is also a big question but with simple answer.

The answer is obviously a tiny microbe that loves to grow on wet surfaces. The bacterial biofilm is harmless unless you are immunocompromised (poor health). They dwell mostly in the presence of phosphorous or fatty acid like toilet soaps. If you inspect they do not grow well in summer season or during hot weather.

About the tiny stuff

The bacterium is Serratia marcescens and can grow between 5 to 40ºC which is quite wide. This is the same reason that they can grow everywhere. It prefers pH between 5 to 9, which is much significant as they prefer soapy waters. If you quickly wiki about this gram negative bacterium that will more freak you out as they are one of the known contenders for Hospital Acquired Infections. But in true sense that can only happen if you are immunocompromised and have increased risk if it reaches sterile parts of the body like lungs, brain or blood.

Behind these bacteria there lies a surprising story of its identification. Sometime in 1819, one Italian resident was frightened about the bloody pollen in humid summer. The family refused to stay at home as they were feared if it was caused by some evil spirits. Later several investigations have proved this to be bacteria that are enjoying their slimy bath.

Apart from the threat of nosocomial infection, it has proved to have anti-cancer property in the red pigment (called prodigiosin) but lots more still to be investigated.

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Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel Prize 2016 in medicine for his work on Autophagy

Video Courtesy: DW News

Today is the day to draw red ring in the calendar. The Nobel Prize for 2016 in Medicine has been announced and has been awarded to 71years old, Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries on how cells detoxify and can repair themselves. Flipping back sometime in June this year the Japanese scientist has also been awarded with 2016 Paul Janssen Award.

The Japanese Cell Biologist received prestigious 8m Swedish Kronor (61,000,000 INR approximately) for unveiling the mechanism of autophagy.

yoshinori-ohsumi-credit-titech-30w1t2nsey2wrdrqcgoxkwAutophagy is a recycling programme of cells where scrap cells are targeted down and the useful parts are taken out to be used for new cellular components. This is a general process that occurs regularly to maintain a healthy metabolism and preventing from conditions like cancer and diabetes. Apart from that dysfunction of Autophagy has also been reported in Parkinson’s disease and other age related disorders. Several researches are still underway to find potential drug targets in various autophagy related disorders.

It was much difficult for Dr. Ohsumi to understand this phenomenon with lack of sophisticated techniques that are now available. In his study in yeast cells, he identified the genes involved in such process and also shown how these genes code for proteins that come together to form autophagosome membrane. He later also proved the similar phenomenon in human cells and our cell could not survive without this autophagy.

In an interview in Tokyo with reporters Ohsumi said, “As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture.” (Courtesy: Guardian)

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