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Bacteria rewired to flash in sync

Glowing bacteria that flash on and off together are pointing the way towards implants made of engineered cells that would deliver precise doses of drugs or hormones at specific times of the day.

The bacteria have been engineered to fluoresce in synchronised bursts to produce waves of luminescence ā€“ but the researchers were not after a biological light show. The feat is proof in principle that the activity of cells can be artificially coordinated, so that they no longer work in isolation.

As well as a new way of delivering drugs, controlling synchrony between cells might also provide new insights into sleep, learning and brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, which are thought to occur when synchrony between neurons is abnormal.














 
 

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