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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Deadly bacteria attack not only us, but each other as well, with remarkable precision

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Vibrio cholerae, the scourge of nations lacking clean water. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the microbe that plagues people with cystic fibrosis. Acinetobacter species, opportunistic organisms that can infect vulnerable people. Escherichia coli, a culprit in food-borne illnesses.

When these bacteria invade their human hosts, they can cause misery and death. But these pathogens also do battle with each other—if provoked. New research sheds light on the tiny war machines that bacteria wield in surprisingly precise and selective counterattacks against their bacterial foes. Real-time fluorescent microscopy catches what HMS scientists call "bacterial tit-for-tat."

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