A grim anniversary, perhaps, but also a timely reminder of life science’s power to innovate

Strains of Escherichia coli – commonly referred to as E. coli – have served as the building blocks of molecular biology for decades. In particular, K-12 was involved in numerous scientific breakthroughs.

On its 100th birthday, highlighting the contributions of E. coli to genetic engineering and biotechnology will shed light on the direction E. coli research will take in the future.

The E. coli K-12 strain was first isolated from a diphtheria patient in California in 1922. After storing the bacteria culture at Stanford University, researchers used it to teach bacterial structure in microbiology classes. The actual research potential of E. coli, however, was not explored until the early 1940s.

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