Bacterial DNA can be read either forwards or backwards: study

Bacteria contain symmetry in their DNA signals that enable them to be read either forwards or backwards, according to new findings at the University of Birmingham which challenge existing knowledge about gene transcription.

Expanding the phylogenetic diversity of Asgard archaea

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China and one in the U.S. has found evidence of multiple novel Asgard MAGs that expands the phylogenetic diversity of Asgard. In their paper published in the journal ...

Study finds airborne release of toxin from algal scum

A dangerous toxin has been witnessed—for the first time—releasing into the air from pond scum, research published in the peer-reviewed journal Lake and Reservoir Management today shows.

E. Coli calculus: Bacteria find the derivative optimally

Scientists from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at The University of Tokyo calculated the efficiency of the sensory network that bacteria use to move towards food and found it to be optimal from ...

Flexible 'slinkies' form in DNA of archaea

New cryo-electron microscopy images suggest archaeal microbes pack their chromatin into tight coils that can spring open, forming unexpected contortions.

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Microorganism

A microorganism (from the Greek: μικρός, mikrós, "small" and ὀργανισμός, organismós, "organism"; also spelled micro organism or micro-organism) or microbe is an organism that is microscopic (usually too small to be seen by the naked human eye). The study of microorganisms is called microbiology, a subject that began with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, using a microscope of his own design.

Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, archaea, and protists; microscopic plants (called green algae); and animals such as plankton, the planarian and the amoeba. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as non-living. Most microorganisms are unicellular (single-celled), but this is not universal, since some multicellular organisms are microscopic, while some unicellular protists and bacteria, like Thiomargarita namibiensis, are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.

Microorganisms live in all parts of the biosphere where there is liquid water, including soil, hot springs, on the ocean floor, high in the atmosphere and deep inside rocks within the Earth's crust. Microorganisms are critical to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers. As some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, they are a vital part of the nitrogen cycle, and recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather.

Microbes are also exploited by people in biotechnology, both in traditional food and beverage preparation, and in modern technologies based on genetic engineering. However, pathogenic microbes are harmful, since they invade and grow within other organisms, causing diseases that kill millions of people, other animals, and plants.

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