Articles on Bacteria

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Do we contain the most elaborate set of instructions? Genome image via

How many genes does it take to make a person?

The answer – fewer than are in a banana – has implications for the study of human health and raises questions about what generates complexity anyway.
We think of coral reefs as a diverse ecosystem, but each coral is an entire and complex microworld of organisms imperceptible to our eyes. Floriaan Devloo-Delva

What we have in common with corals and their unexplored microbial world

Just like humans, corals live with myriad microscopic organisms. We are just starting to understand this unseen world.
Though commonly associated with food poisoning, the strain of salmonella used is a benign variety. Shutterstock/Tatiana Shepeleva

Could friendly bacteria be used to treat cancer?

What started with a study of diseases transmitted by mosquitos, could end with a new way of treating cancer.
Illustration of pressure sensing bacteria in soils from the ‘Computational Colloids Project’. Carolina Ramirez-Figuroa, Luis Hernan and Martyn Dade-Robertson

The cities of the future could be built by microbes

Bacteria can produce their own 'buildings' so scientists are genetically engineering them to build ours.
Surface oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Can we harness bacteria to help clean up future oil spills?

Genetic analysis shows that marine bacteria broke down much of the oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. These findings could lead to more effective cleanups after future spills.
It’s bacterial biofilms that give the Grand Prismatic Spring its colorful hues. Karin Sauer

Unlocking the secrets of bacterial biofilms – to use against them

The vast majority of the bacteria that surround us are not free-floating but prefer to band together in cooperative communities called biofilms. How do biofilms form and cooperate?

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