This confocal micrograph, taken as part of a synthetic biology project, shows Bacillus subtilis, a Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in soil. Distinct lineages of bacteria expressing different fluorescent proteins were initially mixed randomly on a petri dish. As the bacteria grow, they organise themselves into reproducible patterns and shapes that can be predicted with mathematical models. The horizontal field width of this image is 500 microns.
Credit: FERNAN FEDERICI, TIM RUDGE, PJ STEINER AND JIM HASELOFF winners of 2012 Wellcome Image Awards.