observable effects of climate, habit, diet, and other
causes, on length of life, have furnished the pretext
for asserting its indefinite extension; and the sandy
foundation on which the argument rests is that, because
the limit of human life is undefined, because you cannot
mark its precise term, and say so far exactly shall it
go no further, that therefore its extent may increase
for ever, and be properly termed indefinite or
An Essay on the Principle of
|This page follows a page developed first in
Hong Kong at the HKU-Pasteur
Research Centre Ltd
then at the Unit
Genetics of Bacterial Genomes
in Paris. It provides
information, some of which is original (this site and this
page are free to use but, as with programs in open access Copyleft-protected
to guarantee this freedom), but also links that may help you
to trace back other relevant information and insight in the
topics you are interested in. Not all important information is
in English! Chinese, mainly as Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua
普通话), is the language spoken by the most people in the world,
followed by Latin languages (French, Italian, Portuguese,
Romanian, Spanish...), and then by English (or perhaps tongues
from India). In addition, Greek provides most of the words and
concepts used in science. Do not refrain from seeking
information in other languages. Do not forget that most of
Chinese scientific literature has not been translated in the
West, and that it conveys information of its own. English is
not the sole tongue used at this site
(see here, for example).
biology requires to be able to write or speak about
biological facts and concepts. Some reading may be useful.
Links to the World-Wide Web are provided to help finding out
relevant information. In addition, we refer to our own
publications meant to be used as media for communication
both of basic and highly specialized knowledge. A page is
devoted to genomics, but broader information can be found in
Boat (2003, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA)
and in popularisation articles which are cited as needed.
News in biology, evolution and emerging
This page has been
initiated in Hong Kong, in year 2000. The
information presented does not compete with that provided
by news agencies such as Agence
France Presse or Reuters.
It selects information (occasionally not uncovered by
standard media). It also informs about History of Science
and about the creation of concepts used by modern biology.
An important access to the very nature of Science is
discussed in a conference
given at Zhong Shan University (中山大學) in Guangzhou (广州).
You can also follow our E-seminar
for ongoing open discussions. Finally, the importance of
China is emphasized: the Western world is so dominating in
its control of the mass media that this seems of
This page is now less rich, as a consequence of the
existence of a great many quite visible sources that need
not be duplicated. Many sites provide interesting news
about the seasonal flu (type A H3N2 in particular), avian
flu (H5N1) and swine influenza A (H1N1). Crawford
Kilian's blog, which has now spread to all sorts of
other diseases and monitors the Web carefully, is highly
recommended. The Center for Infectious Disease Research
University of Minnesota, and the site of the World Health
are major sources of information. In contrast with the
situation 10 years ago, when not much information was
available there is now a wealth of data sources. We only
provided updated complementary information here. For H7N9
the Hong Kong Health Authorities alerts
To display daily news, click on the triangles, or click
on "Show all
news". To go back go to the site Home
page, or to the site
all news | Titles
||28 august 2014. How royal jelly can induce the
birth of queens.
It is well known that in bee hives deprived of queens,
workers begin to feed some larvae
with the famous "royal jelly." These will
give rise to queens, and the first among
those will kill all its rivals before they hatch,
and then focus
on the multiplication of offspring for the hive.
An Australian-Polish collaboration
has just shown that this supply is sufficient
for activating an enzyme which removes in the
larval genome DNA a series of methyl groups.
These DNA tags affect expression of the entire
genome resulting in a stable epigenetic modification,
differentiating the queen for the workers, where
the methylation complement has not been affected.
||20 august 2014.
While Ebola fever keeps spreading it is
interesting to see how chikungunya is invading
America (and Europe).
epidemiological study describes how
chikungunya, since its introduction in the
Carribean islands in december 2013 keeps gaining
ground in America.
||7 august 2014.
The Eastern passage between Europe and Asia is
open in the Arctic Ocean.
Arctic ice kept thawing rapidly (in contrast with
the huge ice increase in Antarctica) and it is now
free from ice from Europe to Asia via northern
Several more suspect or confirmed cases of Ebola
fever are registered in Nigeria.
|| 5 august 2014.
A second Ebola patient in Nigeria.
The Health Authorities in Nigeria have exposed
that a second case of Ebola in a doctor who
treated a Liberian man who died of the disease
last month in Lagos. Several further cases are
||2 august 2014.
Ebola fever continues to spread.
Despite the fact that it should be easy to contain
Ebola fever, the disease continues to spread, in
regions plagued by misinformation. This triggered
an alarmed reaction from the WHO and the CDC,
which provided advice for restraining travel in
the affected regions.
||21 july 2014.
Update on emerging and re-emerging diseases.
On July 16, a shepherd died of pneumonic plague in
Gansu Province, China. The disease is endemic in
marmots. Fortunately, it is not very contagious,
but the pneumonic form remains very dangerous.
The Ebola outbreak remains a concern: it can be
controlled easily, but fear involves denial, and
therefore its spread. It is rumored that the
disease appeared in the Democratic Republic of
Congo. The MERS Coronavirus is present Iran,
Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
(KSA) Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. The epidemic
appears to have stalled. Various forms of
influenza are as yet rather confined in the
southern hemisphere, but the presence of the H7N9
virus is confirmed in a number of poultry markets
in Eastern and Southern China. The epidemic due to
the chikungunya virus spreads rapidly in the
Caribbean, and it just reached America.
||19 june 2014.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the worse
such epidemic that has been recorded.
More than 500 cases have been reported, with a
death toll of 337. While the Ebola virus is
extremely dangerous, and essentially fatal, it is
only contagious by direct contact. It is therefore
unfortunate that the disease is still spreading in
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
||6 may 2014.
Yet another flu virus: a man dies from infection
by a H5N6 virus in Sichuan.
Three types of bird flu - H7N9, H10N8 and H6N1 -
infected humans for the first time last year, all
in China. About one-fifth of the 419 cases of H7N9
infections were fatal.
||18 april 2014.
Ebola in West Africa and MERS in Arabia keep
The new Ebola virus that developed in Guinea is a
strain. Almost 200 persons have been
infected, with 122 deaths. The MERS outbreaks also
kept increasing. Flu season is ending in the
Northern Hemisphere, and it is expected that the
number of new H7N9 cases will decrease.
||4 april 2014. Controversy
between the WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières about
the outbreak caused by virus Ebola in West Africa.
Mass media report that, for some days, an outbreak
of haemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus is
spreading for the first time in West Africa
(Guinea, Liberia, and perhaps Mali). However the
WHO reminds us that the disease spreads only via
direct contacts, and that the present
situation does not yet require a very high level
of alert. It is essential to remind people with
fever to refrain from having any physical contact
with other unprotected persons.
||26 february 2014.
reports the details of the increasing number of
H7N9 infections in China.
suggested earlier, it is likely that camels
were infected by the MERS coronavirus a long time
ago. HK health authorities report that the H7N9
virus has evolved in recent cases, suggesting that
it may adapt to humans.
||13 february 2014.
More than 300 cases of H7N9 flu have affected
China, where a new H10N8 patient is declared.
US authorities monitoring animal diseases are
concerned by horse
||26 january 2014.
China reports a new case of H10N8 avian flu.
The patient, a
55-years old woman from Nanchang, capital of
Jiangxi, is in a critical condition, the
provincial health and family planning department
said in a statement.
||24 january 2014.
The chikungunya virus reaches the Carribean.
Last month, the Caribbean island of St. Martin
reported cases of the mosquito-borne viral illness
chikungunya, generally spread around the Indian
Ocean. Since then, the virus has spread to several
other Caribbean islands, with approximately 500
cases. It is feared that the disease could spread
to the continent, possibly via Porto Rico.
||10 january 2014.
A huge solar flare has reached the Earth.
In conjunction with a coronal mass ejection, a
powerful “X-class” solar flare centered over a
giant sunspot erupted from the sun on Tuesday,
sending radiation and particles speeding toward
Earth and disrupting operations on the ground. Ten
cases of H7N9 flu were recorded in Guangdong since
august last year.
||1 january 2014.
A new botulism toxin.
A new toxin has been discovered in Clostridium
botulinum. Fortunately the molecular
information about the gene have been kept
confidential. Different strains of C.
botulinum produce a variety of toxins
causing faccid paralysis. A
new study published in the Journal of
Infectious Diseases describes a novel
toxin type, called BoNT/H, on the basis of
sequence analysis and the absence of
cross-neutralization with sera against the
previously identified BoNT (botulinum neurotoxin)