“Democratic” bacteria

I was reading the other day an article in an old New Scientist (1.10.11) referring to group behaviour that I found intriguing.

The study was around bacteria (Pseudomonas) that are antibiotic resistant, but the interesting part was about the fact that a. they have the ability to work together as a super-organism and b. that while they are capable of overwhelming any human organism defences they cause pneumonia only to 15% of their “victims”!

Both events are extraordinary but not surprising, I would dare saying.  The surprising part was what the scientist s discovered, being the reason for that.

And I copy …“It turns out that the armies of Pseudomonas are often greatly weakened by indiscipline in the ranks.  They come to be dominated by cheaters and layabouts, who feast on the spoils of victory but ignore all orders to attack. These selfish bacteria multiply faster then the obedient ones, resulting in a less aggressive infection. The discovery opens up the possibility of radical new ways to tackle superbug infections… (by) deliberately encouraging the growth of  cheater strains and injecting them into  people”!

I do not exactly know why, but I immediately associated the bacteria behaviour with politicians from several democratic countries currently under “stress”. Not all of them of course, there are indeed those they methodically, in the name of an ideology, try to destroy the last defences of Democracy, and they are currently winning the battle I am afraid, but those cheaters, those that have never fought a battle but have just enjoy the benefits ….

Ending 1

You probably understand where I am heading with this… Should we encourage the people in the next election to “inject” more of them into the “system” in order to save these countries…?

Or Ending 2

You probably understand where I am heading with this… The instinct of the people in the last election was right and that is my explanation why these specific countries still exist!

Have your pick. As usual, comments of all kinds welcomed. SM

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