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Carpenter ants need endosymbiotic bacteria to guide the early development of their embryos. New work has reconstructed how this deep partnership evolved.
To stay healthy, humans and some other animals rely on a complex community of bacteria in their guts. But research is starting to show that those partnerships might be more the exception than the rule.
In evolution, context is everything: Bacteria with neighbors evolve to rebuff viruses in a different way.
Cells in symbiotic partnership, sometimes nested one within the other and functioning like organelles, can borrow from their host’s genes to complete their own metabolic pathways.
In the “underground economy” for soil nutrients, fungi strike hard bargains and punish plants that won’t meet their price.
Contrary to popular belief, bacteria have organelles too. Scientists are now studying them for insights into how complex cells evolved.