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Almost 143,000 Bacteriophage Species Live In The Human Gut

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  • VictorMedvil changed the title to Almost 143,000 Bacteriophage Species Live In The Human Gut
10 hours ago, VictorMedvil said:

Biologists have found that almost 143,000 Species of Bacteriophage live inside the human gut, read more at http://www.sci-news.com/biology/human-gut-bacteriophages-09374.html

One remarkable ability of viruses appears to be their ability for quorum sensing.  


In biology, quorum sensing (or quorum signalling)[1] is the ability to detect and respond to cell population density by gene regulation. As one example, quorum sensing (QS) enables bacteria to restrict the expression of specific genes to the high cell densities at which the resulting phenotypes will be most beneficial. Many species of bacteria use quorum sensing to coordinate gene expression according to the density of their local population. In a similar fashion, some social insects use quorum sensing to determine where to nest. Quorum sensing may also be useful for cancer cell communications.[2]


In addition to its function in biological systems, quorum sensing has several useful applications for computing and robotics. In general, quorum sensing can function as a decision-making process in any decentralized system in which the components have: (a) a means of assessing the number of other components they interact with and (b) a standard response once a threshold number of components is detected.


It was once thought that only bacteria had this ability for intra- and inter-species communication. (See Bonnie Bassler).

But now it is found that even viruses are able to communicate and decide  when to become viral. This ability for chemical communication in such primitive species is truly remarkable and is most likely the proto-type of communication among all subsequent living organisms. 

The secret social lives of viruses

Microscopic view of bacteriophage. Royalty-free stock photo



Scientists are listening in on the ways viruses communicate and cooperate. Decoding what the microbes are saying could be a boon to human health.

Geneticist Rotem Sorek could see that his bacteria were sick — so far, so good. He had deliberately infected them with a virus to test whether each ailing microbe soldiered on alone or communicated with its allies to fight the attack.

But when he and his team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, looked into the contents of their flasks, they saw something completely unexpected: the bacteria were silent, and it was the viruses that were chattering away, passing notes to each other in a molecular language only they could understand. They were deciding together when to lie low in the host cell and when to replicate and burst out, in search of new victims.

It was an accidental discovery that would fundamentally change scientists’ understanding of how viruses behave.


We always use our ability for communication as proof that sets us apart from all other living organisms. Behold, the oldest living things on earth talked to each other billions of years ago. Who'd have thunk? ...... 😲 

Edited by write4u
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