NPR logo

Imprisoning Bacteria to Isolate Changes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4725132/4725133" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Imprisoning Bacteria to Isolate Changes

Research News

Imprisoning Bacteria to Isolate Changes

Imprisoning Bacteria to Isolate Changes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4725132/4725133" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

For scientists working with bacteria in a lab, evolution is a bit of a problem. Bacteria change so rapidly that a cool trait you create one day may be gone the next. Now a researcher reports he may have found a way to solve the problem: a tiny prison for bacteria. It's no bigger than a dime and has six tiny compartments that can each hold a few bacteria. Tiny pipes pump in food, scrub the walls, take out waste, and remove the progeny of dividing bacteria. This keeps bacteria in a kind of holding pattern that means they don't evolve into something different from the one you started with.