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How bacteria invented gene editing

Posted on 3 Feb 2016 in Evolution, Featured, Genetics, Journalism

Gene editing is a lot more common in nature than you might think, and it’s been going on for a surprisingly long time – revelations that have challenged what biologists thought they knew about the way evolution works. Image: Nigel_Brown

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First circadian clock transplant allows E. coli to keep time

Posted on 12 Jun 2015 in Genetics, Journalism

Bacteria aren’t renowned for their punctuality – but perhaps one day they will be. A working circadian clock has been inserted in E. coli that allows the microbes to keep to a 24-hour schedule. Image: Robbert van der Steeg

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Rock-forming microbes may be suited for life on other planets

Posted on 6 May 2015 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

They are, perhaps, the world’s deepest architects. Microbes living beneath the sea floor near methane seeps construct extensive rocky deposits – and then live inside them. The organisms may be representatives of a distinct lifestyle that could be well-suited to conditions on harsh, alien worlds. Image: dimsis

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Antarctica’s Blood Falls are a sign of life below ground

Posted on 29 Apr 2015 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

We already know that there is liquid water – and life – in some of the lakes beneath Antarctica’s ice. Blood Falls is a sign of something else: that the ground, too, holds liquid water, and that it may have extensive microbial activity. Image: DLR_de

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Deep bacteria may evolve even without passing genes on

Posted on 5 Jan 2015 in Evolution, Journalism

Is evolution possible without reproduction? Bacteria living hundreds of metres below the seafloor carry more genetic changes than their peers nearer the surface – even though the deep microbes are unlikely to reproduce and undergo natural selection in its traditional sense. Image:

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