The first reference database of the microbes colonizing the planet was constructed by more than 500 scientists. They contributed over 27,000 samples of microbiomes from diverse environments around the globe. The Earth Microbiome Project is a massive global research collaboration that resulted in ‘recapturing’ half of all known bacterial sequences.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham discovered an unsettling link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and triclosan, a disinfectant commonly found in household cleaning products.
Scientists developed a strain of Salmonella that fights aggressive brain cancers which produced a remarkable 20% rate of tumor remission in a rat model, where there are normally no survivors. The bacteria were genetically equipped with a sophisticated tumor-homing mechanism along with cancer fighting weapons, causing the tumors to effectively self-destruct.
An international collaboration of scientists successfully produced a stable artificial strain of bacteria with an extended “genetic alphabet”. The microbe encompasses two additional “X” and “Y” nucleotides, which enable it to store increased information within its genome, laying foundations for new forms of life.
Everything we touch and consume leaves traces on our skin and in our body. The food we eat, people and materials we interact with and even the cosmetics we use, all contribute to the properties of our bioflora.
While bacterial infections usually are a bad thing, they can now be used as a therapy to treat medical conditions, for instance, cancer.
Scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have ingeniously visualized the Escherichia coli evolution through ever increasing amounts of antibiotics. Inspired by a Hollywood movie billboard, the team constructed the so called Microbial Evolution and Growth Arena i.e. MEGA plate to be able to monitor bacteria’s movement, survival and resistance.
Microbes have been present on planet Earth longer than us, humans, and they become our life companions from the moment we are born. They are building, protecting and feeding our bodies.
In 2010 John Craig Venter and his colleagues reported a creation of the first bacterial cell containing a completely synthesized genome. It was a 1.08-mega-base pair Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 genome and it became the very first citizen of synthetic biology.