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Noisy bacteria

Cell-by-cell analysis finds big differences among genetically identical cells

Using new technology to peer inside single cells and count individual molecules, researchers have found that there’s a lot of variability among these biochemical factories even when they’re working from the same set of plans.

In the past, scientists have studied what goes on in cells by looking at them en masse and have assumed that all of them are pretty much the same. But a study in the July 30 Science finds substantial differences from one E. coli bacterium to the next in the relative abundance of cellular proteins and the RNA molecules that encode them.

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