The article, “Progress in the Ecological Genetics and Biodiversity of Freshwater Bacteria,” by Jürg B. Logue, Helmut Bürgmann, and Christopher T. Robinson, inaugurates a series of articles in BioScience on the theme “21st Century Directions in Biology.” Most issues of BioScience will include an article about the impacts of new molecular techniques on a range of biological fields.
The authors of the first “21st Century Directions in Biology” article summarize the history of techniques that allow the study of bacteria that cannot be cultured in the laboratory—the large majority. The first generation of such techniques was focused principally on the analysis of DNA sequences. Research that employed these techniques indirectly shed light on the nature of freshwater environments as a bacterial habitat. A particular problem in the study of freshwater environments is that they fluctuate greatly over time and space. It has become clear, however, that freshwater is quite different from terrestrial soil and marine environments in terms of the bacteria present.
Progress has brought new information to bear on the long-debated question of what exactly constitutes a bacterial species. It has also clarified the role of random events in the distribution of such species: randomness appears to be a substantial, although not all-powerful, influence.
The newest techniques can analyze specific functional capabilities of bacteria, such as their ability to metabolize particular molecules. Moreover, some techniques can analyze multiple capabilities in parallel. These are being combined with accurate and sensitive measurement techniques. Such research is yielding new understanding of how microbial populations shift in response to environmental change, a question that is likely to loom larger as freshwater becomes a more limiting resource for human populations.
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Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
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