A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

Bacteria can have social structures similar to plants and animals, new MIT research reveals. Bacteria can produce chemical compounds that kill or slow the growth of other populations of bacteria in the environment, but not harm their own. “Bacteria typically have been considered purely selfish organisms and bacterial populations as groups of clones,” said Otto Cordero, a theoretical biologist and lead researcher on the paper. “This result contrasts with what we know about animal and plant populations, in which individuals can divide labors, perform different complementary roles and act synergistically.” Cordero and colleagues from MIT, along with researchers from the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, studied whether population-level organization exists for bacteria in the wild. They reasoned social structure can reduce conflict within populations of plants and animals and determine aggression towards competing biological populations. “Think of a population of lions in the Serengeti or a population of fish in a lake,” said Cordero. But could the same be true for populations of bacteria? (via Bacteria are social microorganisms: MIT researchers | KurzweilAI)

Bacteria can have social structures similar to plants and animals, new MIT research reveals. Bacteria can produce chemical compounds that kill or slow the growth of other populations of bacteria in the environment, but not harm their own. “Bacteria typically have been considered purely selfish organisms and bacterial populations as groups of clones,” said Otto Cordero, a theoretical biologist and lead researcher on the paper. “This result contrasts with what we know about animal and plant populations, in which individuals can divide labors, perform different complementary roles and act synergistically.” Cordero and colleagues from MIT, along with researchers from the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, studied whether population-level organization exists for bacteria in the wild. They reasoned social structure can reduce conflict within populations of plants and animals and determine aggression towards competing biological populations. “Think of a population of lions in the Serengeti or a population of fish in a lake,” said Cordero. But could the same be true for populations of bacteria? (via Bacteria are social microorganisms: MIT researchers | KurzweilAI)

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