Bacteria living in colonies band together to fend off attackers and survive, like soldiers and peasants in fortresses, says Gürol Süel, a molecular biologist at the University of California, San Diego. Time and again, they resist our attempts to destroy them. But what if we’re going about it all wrong? Instead of dousing infectious microbes in antibiotics, what if we pit them against each other, in a type of bacterial Hunger Games
? Suel, who probed these colony dynamics in a Nature study
out this week, explains how bacterial societies work—and how we might curb their odds of surviving.