""Using this form of cell-to-cell communication, colonies of billions or trillions of bacteria can literally reach a consensus on actions that impact people," Onuchic explained. "Bacteria that previously existed harmlessly on the skin, for instance, may exchange chemical signals and reach a consensus that their numbers are large enough to start an infection. Likewise, bacteria may decide to band together into communities called biofilms that make numerous chronic diseases difficult to treat — urinary tract infections, for instance, cystic fibrosis and endocarditis.""
The article also mentions "quorum-sensing peptides". A quick check online reveals the following:
"Quorum sensing is the regulation of gene expression in response
to ?uctuations in cell-population density. Quorum sensing bacteria produce and
release chemical signal molecules called autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. The detection of a minimal threshold stimulatory concentration of an autoinducer leads to an alteration in gene expression."
It occurs to me that this is a good check on the use of the term "biologically-inspired models". The appeal of the term seems to drop out, given that our biological models themselves are described in terms familiar from social structures at higher levels of organization.
Note: I was involved in debates over quorum at every Occupy I participated in. I hate quorum.
Matt Uebel originally shared this post:
When faced with life-or-death situations, bacteria ? and maybe even human cells ? use an extremely sophisticated version of "game theory" to consider their options and decide upon the best course of action, scientists reported here today. In a presentation at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) they said microbes "play" a version of the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma" game.