These Bacteria are Wired like a Wolf-Pack
Joe Hanson over at It’s Okay to Be Smart wrote an awesome article over at Wired Science last week, it starts like this:
You wouldn’t know it, but there is an elaborate stealth communication network in the Earth beneath your feet. This smart web acts like a superorganism, fortifying defensive capabilities and coordinating deadly attacks on unsuspecting targets. But it’s not run by the NSA, the CIA, or the military.
This web is made of bacteria.
Okay, you’ve got my attention.
Joe writes that about a team of scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who have identified a previously unknown mechanism for bacterial networking. “They observed elaborate webs of a common soil bacterium, Myxococcus xanthus, connected by thread-like membranes. This system of cellular pipelines suggests that some bacteria have evolved complex ways to deliver molecular cargo out of sight from snooping neighbors.”
This new mechanism effectively amounts to secret chemical signaling between bacteria, that other bacteria within a certain range can detect and respond to - it’s pretty awesome.
Check out the full article.
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