Bacteria (singular: bacterium) constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats. Bacteria inhabit soil, water, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, and the deep portions of Earth's crust. Bacteria also live in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals. They are also known to have flourished in manned spacecraft.
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- Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than [one trillionth of a gram], each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world ...
- Molecular biology has also shown that the basic design of the cell system is essentially the same in all living systems on earth from bacteria to mammals. In all organisms the roles of DNA, mRNA and protein are identical. The meaning of the genetic code is also virtually identical in all cells. The size, structure and component design of the protein synthetic machinery is practically the same in all cells. In terms of their basic biochemical design, therefore no living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth.
- Michael Denton, molecular biologist, writes in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, page 250.
- [A bacterium] weighs as little as 0.00000000001 gram. A blue whale weighs about 100,000,000 grams. Yet a bacterium can kill a whale.
- Bernard Dixon, cited in Awake! magazine, 1996, 2/22.
- If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacterial cell to that of the chance assembly of its component atoms, even eternity will not suffice to produce one for you.
- When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer, ... But I guess that was exactly what I did.
- [The smallest bacterium] is so much more like people than Stanley Miller’s mixtures of chemicals, because it already has these system properties. So to go from a bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to that bacterium.
- A very small event in the microbial community can have an enormous impact on the environment.
- [Daniel Rothman]
- I’m surprised to see people get so wildly excited about a possible bacterium on Mars when our own planet is crawling with undiscovered species.
- George Schaller, cited in Awake! magazine, 1998, 22/3.