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Newsletter – April 2014

This month, we highlight our brand new theme: Bacteria in biotech.

Bacteria in biotechnology – explained

The theme explores how and why we use bacteria to improve our lives. It looks at how the DNA revolution has led to new uses for bacteria and includes several articles that cover the basic science of bacteria, DNA and proteins.

Basics of bacteria

Get to grips with bacterial shape and size. Learn about the remarkably diverse habitats of bacterial species (including numerous distinct niches on the human body), and read about how bacteria can work together, achieving ‘safety in numbers’ by forming biofilms.

Bacterial DNA is like no other

Unlike most other organisms, bacteria contain plasmids – short circular DNA structures that are separate from chromosomal DNA. Learn about what plasmids do and how they have made it possible to create genetically modified bacteria.

What’s so special about E. coli?

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the go-to bacterium for biotechnology. Scientists use it to store DNA sequences from other organisms and to produce proteins.

This article sets out why E.coli is such an excellent ‘workhorse’ and explains its starring role in the DNA revolution.

Bacteria in NZ biotech

New Zealand scientists are giving bacteria new and useful functions. Learn about the glowing bacteria that help scientists monitor TB infection, the photosynthetic bacteria that convert sugars into biofuel and the bacteria that combat serious environmental pollutants.

Close links to other Hub resources

The Bacteria in biotech articles have been designed to support teaching of other Hub resources. In particular, they provide background information and additional depth to these focus stories:

We’ve also taken the opportunity to collect related information from across the Biotech Hub – so you can see at a glance which proteins and which genomes are featured within our resources.

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

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Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team
www.biotechlearn.org.nz

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