“Survival of the friendliest” outweighs “survival of the fittest” for groups of bacteria, according to new research. It reveals that bacteria would rather unite against external threats, such as antibiotics, rather than fight against each other. The discovery is a major step towards understanding complex bacteria interactions and the development of new treatment models for a wide range of human diseases and new green technologies.
For a number of years the researchers have studied how combinations of bacteria behave together when in a confined area. After investigating many thousands of combinations it has become clear that bacteria cooperate to survive and that these results contradict what Darwin said in his theories of evolution.
“In the classic Darwinian mindset, competition is the name of the game. The best suited survive and outcompete those less well suited. However, when it comes to microorganisms like bacteria, our findings reveal the most cooperative ones survive,” explains Søren Johannes Sørensen, a professor of microbiology at the University of Copenhagen.