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Press Release 12-161

New Research Suggests Bacteria Are Social Microorganisms

MIT scientists: Bacteria plays different social roles, including attacking and defending other bacteria

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Photomicrograph in green light of bacteria.

Scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 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 assembled an all-against-all battleground for 185 closely-related, but distinct, members of an ocean-based family of bacteria called Vibrionaceae and examined about 35,000 chemical reactions to determine whether some bacteria play different social roles.

Credit: Thinkstock


Cover of the September 7, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the September 7, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2012

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