Marine microbes shed packets of DNA, nutrients

Marine microbes shed packets of DNA, nutrients

Bacterial vesicles may offer genetic exchange opportunities, affect carbon cycle

By Tina Hesman Saey, 13:29 PM January 10, 2014

Superabundant bacteria in the ocean routinely sacrifice parts of themselves, scientists have discovered. This sacrifice, in which bacteria pinch off minuscule spheres called vesicles, may influence climate change by affecting how much carbon dioxide the ocean can absorb.

Photosynthetic bacteria in the genus Prochlorococcus shed two to five vesicles a day, researchers led by biological oceanographer Sallie Chisholm of MIT report in the Jan. 10 Science. Each vesicle is a membrane-wrapped bubble ...

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