Bacteria swap genetic information as readily as people can share digital data — there are no cultural, political or systemic boundaries, according to a new study. Researchers say they have identified a massive gene network that facilitates the transfer of 10,000 unique genes among 2,235 bacterial genomes, across international borders and across species.
Anyone who has ever had a stomach bug knows it can really subdue your spirits as well as your appetite. But other parts of the gut microbiome can have the opposite effect, and make you feel great. Irish researchers have found a type of gut bacteria that seems to have directly interacted with the brains of mice, reducing stress and depression.
Call it a twist on the study of gut bacteria. Scientists sampling DNA strains from the navels of volunteer donors have found 662 microbes that are apparently new to science, showing that the human navel is apparently a ripe environment for bacteria.
The cats over at CSI might just have another forensic tool to supplement their super-sleek glass and steel science lab: the bacteria on our hands. A group of researchers at University of Colorado Boulder have conducted a proof-of-concept study in which they were able to accurately identify people using samples of bacteria collected from their computer keyboards and mouses.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.