Molecular biologist, Professor Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria “talk” to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defence and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry — and our understanding of ourselves…

“Until recently, the ability of bacteria to communicate with one another was considered an anomaly that occurred only among a few marine bacteria. It is now clear that group talk is the norm in the bacterial world, and understanding this process is important for fighting deadly strains of bacteria and for understanding communication between cells in the human body.

Bonnie Bassler has discovered that bacteria communicate with a chemical language. This process, called quorum sensing, allows bacteria to count their numbers, determine when they have reached a critical mass, and then change their behaviour in unison to carry out processes that require many cells acting together to be effective”

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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