Steam rises from a blue-gray hot spring, visible beyond a patch of reddish, rocky soil.
Soil Microbes Sacrifice Ribosomes in Response to Warming
When soil heats up, microbes scale back protein synthesis machinery by making use of higher reaction rates that occur at higher temperatures, a study finds.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, ALANFIN
Soil Microbes Sacrifice Ribosomes in Response to Warming
Soil Microbes Sacrifice Ribosomes in Response to Warming

When soil heats up, microbes scale back protein synthesis machinery by making use of higher reaction rates that occur at higher temperatures, a study finds.

When soil heats up, microbes scale back protein synthesis machinery by making use of higher reaction rates that occur at higher temperatures, a study finds.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, ALANFIN

bacterial evolution

a vial of cobra venom and a bacteri-covered agar plate
Study Questions Sterility of Snake and Spider Venoms
Christie Wilcox | Jan 31, 2022
In work that has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers present evidence that microbes can and do live inside the venom glands of several dangerous species. It remains unclear whether they’re to blame for infections linked to bites.
Artist’s rendering of the protein synthesis process, in which a tRNA molecules carry amino acids to a ribosome that’s decoding a strand of mRNA.
Screen of 250,000 Species Reveals Tweaks to Genetic Code
Dan Robitzski | Nov 9, 2021
A massive screen of bacterial and archaeal genomes revealed five previously unknown instances where an organism uses an alternate code to translate genetic blueprints into proteins.
Researchers use bacterial whole genome sequencing to compare the phylogenetic relationship between environmental and clinical samples.
Aquatic Bacteria Reveal a Common Genetic Link to a Deadly Human Pathogen
Iris Kulbatski, PhD | Mar 7, 2022
Researchers use genetic clues to track the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria from the environment to patients.
A purple bulge of microbes on the bottom of a lake
Longer Days Led to Oxygen Buildup on Early Earth: Study
Amanda Heidt | Aug 3, 2021
Researchers propose that some of the planet’s earliest photosynthesizers benefited from a slowing of the Earth’s rotation that allowed them to produce a surplus of oxygen and paved the way for more complex life.  
Are Phages Overlooked Mediators of Health and Disease?
Catherine Offord | Feb 1, 2021
Bacteria-infecting viruses affect the composition and behavior of microbes in the mammalian gut—and perhaps influence human biology.
Infographic: Trans-kingdom Interactions in the Gut
Catherine Offord | Feb 1, 2021
Phages interact with bacteria and eukaryotic cells in ways that researchers suspect influence mammalian health.
When Is an Endosymbiont an Organelle?
Ruth Williams | Oct 3, 2019
The finding that a bacterium within a bacterium within an animal cell cooperates with the host on a biosynthetic pathway suggests the endosymbiont is, practically speaking, an organelle.
A Lost Microbial World the scientist
Prehistoric Microbes Inhabit an Oasis in the Northern Mexican Desert
Diana Kwon | Mar 1, 2019
The blue lagoons of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin provide a glimpse into the planet’s ancient past.
Opinion: Archaea Is Our Evolutionary Sister, Not Mother
Morgan Gaia, Violette Da Cunha, Patrick Forterre | Jun 1, 2018
The ancient organisms appear to be more closely related to eukaryotes than previously appreciated.
Mitochondria’s Bacterial Origins Upended
Shawna Williams | Apr 25, 2018
Contrary to some hypotheses, the organelles did not descend from any known lineage of Alphaproteobacteria, researchers find.
Evolution’s Quick Pace Affects Ecosystem Dynamics
Jef Akst | May 1, 2017
From fish harvests to cottonwood forests, organisms display evidence that species change can occur on timescales that can influence ecological processes.
Inflammation Drives Gut Bacteria Evolution
Ruth Williams | Mar 16, 2017
Viruses within Salmonella rapidly spread genes throughout the bacterial population during a gut infection, scientists show.
Evolution of Kin Discrimination
Ashley P. Taylor | Jul 6, 2015
A bacterium’s ability to distinguish self from non-self can arise spontaneously, a study shows, reigniting questions of whether the trait can be considered an adaptation.
Evolutionary Rewiring
Ruth Williams | Feb 26, 2015
Strong selective pressure can lead to rapid and reproducible evolution in bacteria.
Week in Review: December 9–13
Tracy Vence | Dec 13, 2013
Animal family tree rearranged; how E. coli evades the immune system; pharmacological chaperones and misfolded proteins
How Bacteria Evade the Immune System
Laasya Samhita | Dec 12, 2013
Escherichia coli can quickly evolve to resist engulfment by macrophages, scientists have found.
Bacteria Can Integrate Degraded DNA
Kerry Grens | Nov 18, 2013
In lab experiments, bacteria usurp small, damaged fragments of DNA, including those from a 43,000-year-old woolly mammoth.  
Expeditious TB Tests
Kate Yandell | Sep 10, 2013
New rapid tests for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis appear highly accurate.
Bacterial Gene Transfer Gets Sexier
Kate Yandell | Jul 9, 2013
Mycobacterium smegmatis can donate larger portions of its genome to other bacteria than previously thought, approaching the level of gene shuffling seen in sexual reproduction.