Long before complex life arose, bacteria had mastered the art of living. To survive, these single-celled organisms learned how to divide, with one cell giving rise to two, then two to four, and so on. It was a survival strategy that turned out to be so convenient that it was adopted, and has evolved over billions of years. Decades of research have been put into understanding bacterial division. As it turns out, it is not a one-man show but takes the well-coordinated and timely appearance of several proteins to orchestrate the transformation of one cell into two. And it all starts with a protein called FtsZ, which is at the heart of a sort of scaffold that will ultimately allow a cell to divide into two.
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Nature has found many ways to ward off predators. Flowers give off scents. Lions use a roar. Some protozoans shoot out harpoon-shaped spikes on their surface and snakes spit venom. Venom is composed of a cocktail of substances, one of which is the poison which will either frighten off the predator – because of the pain which has been inflicted on it – or simply kill it by way of muscular paralysis for instance.
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