1. Microbes

    Mystery microbes of the sea

    Biologists find archaea a true curiosity. They make up one of life’s three main branches. The two better known branches are bacteria and eukaryotes (u KARE ee oatz). That last branch includes animals, plants and fungi. But archaea have remained mysterious. Very little is known about them. In fact, their unique status wasn’t even recognized until relatively recently, in 1977.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Camels linked to mystery disease

    A mysterious and deadly virus has sickened 94 people — killing 46 — in parts of the Middle East, Europe and northern Africa. A new study finds that camels (the one-humped type) may have introduced the new disease to people. The germ responsible is a virus that lives in people’s lungs, throats and noses. Scientists recently named the disease it causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

  3. Microbes

    Some dirt won’t hurt

    It could even lower risks of serious allergic disease.

  4. Environment

    Home, plastic home

    Some ocean life is moving into floating piles of plastic trash.

  5. Microbes

    The power of microbes

    A living animal is never alone. Its body — like yours — is home to trillions of microbes, or tiny single-celled organisms. Those microbes aren’t just hitchhiking. They can play an important role in separating species, researchers now report.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Infection time

    Disease is more severe when it hits in the morning, at least in mice.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Flu in the air

    Germs tiny enough to pass through surgical masks may cause half of all cases.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Killer-flu update

    Infection that recently developed in China shows signs of being easy to spread and hard to kill.

  9. Microbes

    Deadly new flu

    The germ responsible carries genes from other flu viruses.

  10. Animals

    Infectious animals

    Critters spread many germs that can sicken each other — and even kill people.

  11. Animals

    Explainer: People can sicken animals

    Wildlife can sometimes become infected with germs shed by people.

  12. Microbes

    Microscopic caffeine fiends

    Researchers create a bacterium that can’t live or reproduce without a stimulant found in soft drinks, chocolate, coffee and tea.