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What we can know about biology before the last universal common ancestor is limited—and we should be circumspect in filling in the gaps.

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image: Opinion: Microbial Mind Control—Truth or Scare?

Opinion: Microbial Mind Control—Truth or Scare?

By Katerina Johnson | May 1, 2018

Normal brain function may have evolved to depend on gut microbes and their metabolites.

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image: How Bacteria Eat Penicillin

How Bacteria Eat Penicillin

By Shawna Williams | April 30, 2018

Scientists work out the specific genes and biochemical steps required for digesting the very drugs designed to kill microbes.

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Rather than getting a gene for its original function, a horizontal gene transfer provides the raw material for evolutionary innovation.

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Drug-free environments, such as a designated ward in a hospital, might reduce the strength of selection for resistance.

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image: Monitoring Mutations with Microfluidics

Monitoring Mutations with Microfluidics

By Ruth Williams | March 15, 2018

A device dubbed the “mother machine” enables real-time observation of mutagenesis in single bacterial cells.  

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image: Slime Mold in Residence

Slime Mold in Residence

By Ashley P. Taylor | March 2, 2018

At Hampshire College, students and faculty use the amoeba Physarum polycephalum—both a “visiting scholar” and a model organism—to examine human societal and political quandaries.  

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image: Bacteriophages Plentiful in Women’s Bladders

Bacteriophages Plentiful in Women’s Bladders

By Abby Olena | February 2, 2018

In one of the first looks at the urinary virome, researchers find hundreds of viruses, most of which have never been sequenced before. 

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The findings more than double the number of known defense mechanisms, piquing the interests of molecular biology tool developers.

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image: How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

By Abby Olena | January 17, 2018

Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

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