Much to their surprise, they discovered how the order of gene expression during biofilm growth mirrors the timing of these genes’ evolution – in the same way as the expressions of genes in developing animal embryos.
This is not the only way the biofilms mirrored embryogenesis – the formation and development of an embryo.
The methodical organisation of the gene expression can also be observed in embryos, as well as an increase in communication between cells, which in the biofilm coincides with growing three-dimensional wrinkles.
Dr Domazet-Lošo said: ”This means that bacteria are true multicellular organisms just like we are.
“Considering that the oldest known fossils are bacterial biofilms, it is quite likely that the first life was also multicellular, and not a single-celled creature as considered so far.”