1130_SUBTILIS_cells-lg [Deciphering bacterial doomsday decisions]

New research finds the bacterium Bacillus subtilis begins preparing for survival in hard times, even as it delays the ultimate decision of whether to form a spore. Researchers used fluorescent labels to measure the production of spore-forming genes. This image shows a heterogeneous population of starving bacterial cells that includes both non-sporulating cells (dark blue) and cells that have begun spore-formation by dividing asymmetrically into large (yellow) and small (pink) chambers. CREDIT: M. Fujita/UH

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.