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Microbial intelligence (popularly known as bacterial intelligence) is the intelligence shown by microorganisms. The concept encompasses complex adaptive behaviour shown by single cells, and altruistic and/or cooperative behavior in populations of like or unlike cells mediated by chemical signalling that induces physiological or behavioral changes in cells and influences colony structures.
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Complex cells, like protozoa or algae, show remarkable abilities to organise themselves in changing circumstances . Shell-building by amoebae, reveals complex discrimination and manipulative skills that are ordinarily thought to occur only in multicellular organisms.
Even bacteria, which show primitive behavior as isolated cells, can display more sophisticated behavior as a population. These behaviors occur in single species populations, or mixed species populations. Examples are colonies of Myxobacteria, quorum sensing, and biofilms.
It has been suggested that a bacterial colony loosely mimics a biological neural network. The bacteria can take inputs in form of chemical signals, process them and then produce output chemicals to signal other bacteria in the colony.
The mechanisms that enable single celled organisms to coordinate in populations presumably carried over in those lines that evolved multicellularity, and were co-opted as mechanisms to coordinate multicellular organisms.
Examples of microbial intelligence
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Microbial_intelligence". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|