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Bony bacteria

New species builds hard structures inside cells

By
2:02pm, April 26, 2012

Scientists have discovered skeletons in the cyanobacterial closet. A never-before-seen species of cyanobacterium loads its cells with little bonelike lumps that may act as ballast, helping to anchor the beastie in its home waters of a Mexican lake. The discovery, described in the April 27 Science, is the first report of such a microbe creating calcified structures inside its cells, rather than externally.

Scientists aren’t sure what to make of the discovery. Related cyanobacteria play a major role in the planet’s geochemical cycles. “It’s interesting and opens up possibilities we hadn’t thought about before,” says Robert Rid

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