Is There Nothing E. coli Cannot Do? The Borg Edition

In my book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, I describe how this humble germ helped make modern biology possible–and, in the process, has been engineered to do all sorts of remarkable things. In 2008, I blogged a fresh example, courtesy of Jeff Hasty and his colleagues. They retooled the bacteria to flash in clock-like rhythms. Now Hasty has taken another step forward, rejiggering E. coli so that millions of bacteria can flash in waves. The new paper’s in Nature, and the journal put together a lovely video of the bacteria in hive-mind performance. Check it out below.