This Is What a Virus Infecting a Cell Looks Like

This isn't a cartoon tree or some strange piece of modern art. In fact, it's what researchers from the University of Texas at Austin saw when they managed to observe a virus in the act of penetrating a cell.

In the image, you can see a T7 virus (red) burrowing its way into an E. coli bacterium (green). The six yellow strands are actually rudimentary legs, which allow the virus to crawl over cells to find a weak spot and then infect them.

The image is the first time scientists have observed a virus inserting its tail into a cell to infect it. It's believed that the process allows it to infect a cell directly with its DNA. You can see it in action, in fact, in the video below. The weirdest part? The fact that this all happens in your body, too. Ugh. [Science Express via Science, Space and Robots]