The Secret, Social Lives of Bacteria

You are not quite who you think you are, especially if you think you are human. As it turns out, depending on whether you count the number of cells in 'your' body or whether you count the number of genes, you're only about 1 to 10% human and 90 to 99% microbial. Yes, that might explain that strange smell...

In this truly fascinating and amusing presentation, Bonnie Bassler generously shares recent discoveries about the chemical nature of bacterial communication systems and how these are involved in phenomena as wide-ranging as bioluminescense in some octopus species, disease virulence, and antibiotic resistance.

These discoveries indicate the possibility of powerful practical applications, like a new generation of antibiotics, but they also reveal a powerful lesson about our own humanity: the rules of our own evolutionary game were laid down billions of years ago by unicellular organisms that stumbled upon emergent behavioral patterns dictated by chemical cues.

Check out the awesome Microbe Serenade for a little bacterial lovin', and a fascinating conversation in All In the Mind about the intelligence of bacteria.
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