Microbiologists from the University of Indiana for the first time photographed the process of absorption by bacteria of foreign DNA – the horizontal transfer of genes between cells in the population. During this process, cells capture from the outside environment free DNA strands and build them into their own genome. Thus, new signs are acquired, including resistance to antibiotics.
The process was captured with a microscope and a specialized set of fluorescent dyes. With their help, it was possible to visualize the cells themselves, they drank (harpoons for capture tens of thousands of times thinner than human hair) and DNA.
Drinks are also used by bacteria to attach to the extract. One cell may have several hundred. They are very thin – only about 7 nm.