We recently posted an update on horizontal gene transfer (HGT) to highlight the existence of strategies used by bacteria to exchange DNA – in addition to those traditionally acknowledged, that is transformation, transduction and conjugation. One of these more recently recognized mechanisms involves entities called gene transfer agents (GTAs).
When I stumbled across the term bacterioneuston, I discovered a whole new world where the air meets the sea. I found that marine neuston had long been used to refer to the diverse flora and fauna inhabiting the topmost 5 cm of the oceans — a distinctly different assemblage than found in the waters below.
Have you ever heard of biocrusts? If not, you are not alone. I only stumbled upon this term recently and was surprised to find that it represents a growing field of research on what appear to be fragile, surface soil communities that are just the opposite. Biocrusts are incredibly resilient to inhospitable conditions.
by Davide Ciccarese
Bacterial communities live in a small world where cells fill any available micron. Depending on their location and surrounding environment, they can readily respond to changes by gearing up their gene repertoire to insure their position in a densely packed biofilm. To be able to visualize this...