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Escherichia coli. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of several Escherichia coli bacteria. E. coli are gram-negative bacilli (rod- shaped) bacteria. The yellow filaments projecting from the sides of the bacteria are pili, thin strands of protein used to establish contact with another bacterium prior to conjugation (DNA transfer). E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the human intestine. However, under certain conditions its numbers may increase, causing infection. It can result in "traveller's diarrhoea" and urinary tract infections such as cystitis. E. coli is widely used in genetic studies and genetic engineering. Magnification: x12,500 at 6x7cm size.
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