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Bacteria 'Invest' Wisely To Survive Uncertain Times, Scientists Report

Like savvy Wall Street money managers, bacteria hedge their bets to increase their chances of survival in uncertain times, strategically investing their biological resources to weather unpredictable environments.

In a new study available online and featured on the cover of today's issue of Cell, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers describe how bacteria play the market so well. Inside each bacterial cell are so-called genetic circuits that provide specific survival skills. Within the bacteria population, these genetic circuits generate so much diversity that the population as a whole is more tolerant of -- and is more likely to survive -- a wide range of variability in the environment.

"We have found that a particular genetic circuit is responsible for generating diversity within the bacteria population," said senior author Dr. Gürol Süel, assistant professor of pharmacology and in the Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational and Systems Biology at UT Southwestern.
 
 

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