What About Us?
Understanding the inner workings of these rhythms could lead to new ways to treat disease. Among the big questions that the squid and bacteria could answer, for instance, is how the two organisms communicate so they don't harm each other.
"I'm interested in specifically how the immune system reacts," said Nyholm. "How can they tell the good from the bad bacteria?"
Indeed, how does the human body know the good gut bacteria from the bad bacteria? And why don't our gut bacteria just keep growing and kill us?
"That doesn't happen (in the squid) and that doesn't happen in us either," said McFall-Ngai. Discovering why could, among other things, lead to new ways to fight bacterial infections, since the molecules involved in the process are, remarkably, the same in squids and humans.