• Question: how do you understand all the bacterias and there names?

    Asked by charleypoolton to Jim on 19 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      To a microbiologist bacteria can actually look very different to each other. Sometimes their shapes are quite different – either like balls, or like rods, or like spiral helter-skelters. However, some bacteria look the same, but are completely different. These bacteria will be different on the inside – their DNA will make them behave differently, and they may all like different foods. We can categorise bacteria on what colour they turn when we add a particular dye to them, or by seeing what they can (and can’t) eat; or we can look directly at their DNA.

      On the basis of these simIlarities or differences, we group them with other bacteria who share simar properties, and each group of bacteria that share these features get given their own name. With those that are most simar being grouped into the same exact name.