Tiny Worlds

From the social network in the soil to the ecosystem in your body, it’s amazing what’s hidden just out of sight

Featuring 14 articles by 11 scientists


How scientists are mapping the building blocks of life

A microscopic moonshot hopes to revolutionize biology

Josh Peters

Biological Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How gut bacteria manipulates your immune system – by mimicking it

Scientists are discovering how microbes 'speak' with the body

Melanie Silvis

Molecular Microbiology

UC San Francisco

Comment 1 peer comment

Genes are like the cosmos: the more we discover, the more we have to explore

"I don't know how to keep the air in my chest thinking about the scale and size of the unknown"

Dan Samorodnitsky


Why teamwork is better than attempting lone heroism in science

A story of failure, collaboration, and incredibly tiny medicine

Samantha McWhirter


University of Toronto

Comment 2 peer comments

Scientists are recruiting live bacteria to fight deadly infections

A study in rural India is raising hopes for a future without antibiotics

Devang Mehta

Synthetic Biology

ETH Zurich

Comment 3 peer comments

Beetles exploit bacteria labor to grow their exoskeletons

New research has revealed a "symbiotic organ" in weevils, showing how tiny organisms shape larger life

Melanie Silvis

Molecular Microbiology

UC San Francisco

Comment 3 peer comments

Scientists found an entire herpes virus genome hiding out in fish DNA

Researchers have made a bizarre discovery involving transposons, parasitic DNA found in fish (and humans)

Dan Samorodnitsky


Comment 2 peer comments

Can the right microbes really solve all your health problems?

A microbiologist explains the latest gut science

Namrata Iyer


Brown University

Why you shouldn't worry about the bacteria in your sponges

Remember that study about the 'dangerous' bacteria hiding in your kitchen sponge? Not so fast

Kevin Pels

Chemical Biology

The Scripps Research Institute

We're beginning to understand the 'tumor microenvironment' that makes cancer so resilient

The cellular processes that help tumors thrive in the body are a promising new target for cancer treatments

Danny Jomaa


University of Ottawa

How do mosses reproduce? By spreading their seed on everything

That's right: come for the soft, cool outdoor perch – leave covered in moss sperm

Jerald Pinson


University of Florida

The soil microbiome could change agriculture—if we can understand it

Tinkering with the buzzing "social network" in the soil could be a new frontier for making crops grow faster and healthier.

Michael Graw

Microbial Ecology

Oregon State University

A scientist explains why you should approach exciting microbiome news with caution

We know the microbiome is important to health, but we're still developing the tools to understand how and why

Ilana Arbisser

Computational Biology

Stanford University

These tiny methane-eating organisms have an outsize impact on our climate models

They don't need as much oxygen as we think, and that's a big deal for climate scientists.

Michael Graw

Microbial Ecology

Oregon State University