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Bacteria

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Bacteria (the plural form of bacterium) are microscopic, single-celled organisms that are fundamental to a great many biological processes. Many people's perception of bacteria is as a cause of disease, but while some bacteria are harmful, most others are essential for natural processes such as digestion, decomposition and a great many other processes.

The human body contains almost ten times as many bacteria as human cells and more than half the biological carbon in the world is in bacteria.[1]

Bacteria are able to 'share' genetic information, meaning that two different strains of bacteria placed in contact with one another may take on each other's characteristics (eg resistance to a certain chemical).

References

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC33863/?tool=pmcentrez
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