[permaculture] Bacteria are social microorganisms: MIT researchers

venaurafarm venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Sep 13 12:21:09 EDT 2012

"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?"

Bacteria are social microorganisms: MIT researchers


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