Bacteria Use Viruses To Differentiate Themselves From Their Competitors, Study Finds

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schwit1 shares a report from UPI: Normally, bacteria and viruses are enemies, but new research suggests a viral infection can offer bacteria some benefits — chiefly, the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Scientists discovered the phenomenon after observing a stark demarcation line between two strains of the bacteria Escherichia coli K-12, but no such divide between identical clones. The related rivals steered clear of one another, while the identical strains swam toward one another. To find out why, scientists surveyed 4,296 single-gene knockouts in the genome of Escherichia coli K-12. Researchers determined only one mutation caused the demarcation line to disappear. The mutation involved a gene that is used in viral replication.

According to their analysis, the virus-related proteins produced by the gene allow for bacterial self-recognition. Scientists were also able erase the demarcation line by silencing the bacteriophage genomes that have weaved their way into the bacteria’s genome. These leftover viral genes don’t produce active phage particles, nor do they rupture host cells. When scientists exposed bacteria to a related virus, the old viral genes were activated and began producing phage particles for the new virus. Experiments showed the virus doesn’t attack its host cells. Instead, the virus attacks other bacteria cells that don’t carry the virus. The host helps the virus reproduce, and the virus takes out the bacteria’s competitors. The new study has been published in the journal Cell Reports.


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These wireless fitness earbuds are over $100 cheaper than Powerbeats

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Wireless earbuds seem to be everywhere now, bulky wires gone the way of the audio port. (RIP.)

That goes double for the new Powerbeats, the new Apple earbuds that are meant to be a sporty alternative to AirPods.

But Powerbeats are fairly pricey, especially for folks unaccustomed to the jacked-up pricing of wireless listening tech. No wonder, because one look at Apple’s official store reveals that the now vintage EarPods are $29.99 — in comparison to the average $200 at which the Powerbeats currently retail. 

If you’re a penny-pinching tech lover, that price difference is a steep premium to pay for a few moments as part of the tech “it” crowd. Read more…

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Save $50 on a Google Home Hub smart display in the PCMag Shop

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Editor’s note: Mashable and PCMag are both owned by Ziff Davis.

We’re lucky to live in such technologically-advanced times, but there are moments when it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Because we tend to scoop up the latest and greatest in tech as soon as the products drop, we ultimately overload ourselves and end up with tons of devices — more than we could even attempt to use in one day. 

Do yourself a favor and simplify your life by having most of your necessary tech in one place. The Google Home Hub, which is on sale right now for just about the cheapest we’ve ever seen it, makes this possible. Read more…

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Get this PDF editor (a Mac App Store favorite) on sale for 30% off

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The million-dollar question: why hasn’t Apple made a PDF editor available as a fallback app on new MacBooks?

If you don’t have a third-party editor installed on your computer, then editing and modifying PDFs is a recurring exercise in torture. The act of manually editing a doc often unfolds as such: convert PDF into Word doc, do editing, take a water break, fix messed-up formatting, eat a cookie, initiate file conversion back into PDF, read Avengers: Endgame plot theories, yell at frozen conversion screen, cry a little…

Enter PDF Expert for Mac. This is one of the top paid apps in the Mac App Store and it’s currently on sale via the Mashable Shop. Read more…

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Score an entire suite of creative design apps for only $40

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We’re not about to make assumptions here, but we’d wager that the starving artist myth is partially perpetuated by the fact that design programs are so darn expensive. A subscription to a single app alone can sometimes require you to fork out hundreds of dollars you don’t have. We don’t know about you, but that’s plain robbery.

You don’t have to put yourself in the red just to score apps that will help you perform a variety of design jobs. The Corel Creative Mac Bundle includes an entire creative design app suite from one of the leading software makers with a few surprise bonuses. And you only have to pay $40 to get the whole set. Read more…

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