For the first time ever, we can actually see a bacterium steal a piece of DNA in real time.
In the video you’ll find at the link above, the bacterium Vibrio cholerae reaches out and grabs a free-floating piece of DNA so that it can stitch it into its genome. Bacteria like to steal DNA (known as horizontal gene transfer) so they can better adapt to their environments. This helps them survive and thrive, and it lets them develop resistance to antibiotics, which is a big problem. This particular type of bacteria causes cholera, an often deadly illness.
As noted in the article, the montage was created by researchers at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Brooklyn College. It was published in Nature Microbiology.