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Underground Cells Make ‘Dark Oxygen’ Without Light
In some deep subterranean aquifers, cells have a chemical trick for making oxygen that could sustain whole underground ecosystems.
In a Fierce Desert, Microbe ‘Crusts’ Show How Life Tamed the Land
Extreme microorganisms carpeting the Atacama Desert in Chile illuminate how life might have first taken hold on Earth’s surface.
Microbes Gained Photosynthesis Superpowers From a ‘Proton Pump’
New research reveals how marine microbes use an extra membrane that once had digestive functions to boost their yield from photosynthesis.
Primitive Asgard Cells Show Life on the Brink of Complexity
As researchers race to cultivate more of the intriguing cells from the deep seafloor, the few cells now growing in labs are giving us our best glimpses of the forerunners of all complex life.
With Nothing to Eat Except Viruses, Some Microbes Thrive
“Virovores” — organisms that survive and multiply by eating viruses — might influence the flow of energy through ecosystems.
Mobile Genes From the Mother Shape the Baby’s Microbiome
Tiny genetic sequences in a mother’s bacteria seem to hop into the infant’s bacteria, perhaps ensuring a healthy microbiome later in life.
Ocean Bacteria Reveal an Unexpected Multicellular Form
Marine bacteria normally seen as single cells join together as a “microscopic snow globe” to consume bulky floating carbohydrates.
Radioactivity May Fuel Life Deep Underground and Inside Other Worlds
New work suggests that the radiolytic splitting of water supports giant subsurface ecosystems of life on Earth — and could do it elsewhere, too.
A Physicist’s Approach to Biology Brings Ecological Insights
The physicist Jeff Gore tests theories about microbe communities experimentally and finds new rules governing ecological stability.