Small-sized organisms provide ideal conditions to investigate the complexity of living organisms and to study life processes. The assumption that single-cell organisms, with small genome sizes, must be easier to analyze holds true. However, it would be misleading to consider bacteria as simplified versions of multicellular organisms as they remain very complex.
This special issue of ComPlexUs raises questions about time, spatial organization, information flow, heredity and evolution. In this context, the study of bacteria is particularly rewarding since it provides unparalleled opportunities to discuss the origin of life, and the ways in which nature allows mutations to occur, then selects and propagates them. Studies of bacteria present an ideal field for such observations, largely due to their very short multiplication times, but also their flexibility, which allows them to adapt to any environment.
The excellent contributions to this special issue will be stimulating reading to any life scientist with an interest in microbiology, genomics, proteomics, evolution or bioinformatics.