The Patterns of Life Although bacteria are intimately involved in the human experience, few analytical tools are available to explore and describe their activity and performance. In her recent review, Susann Müller describes how flow cytometric analysis of the DNA content for both Gram‐negative and Grampositive species can aid in the understanding of proliferation events in bacterial species. Various cell cycle stages and events can be studied using flow cytometry to collect DNA pattern information. Coupled with specific cell culture techniques and fluorescent dye labeling technologies, the analysis of distinct functions within microbial communities can be achieved. Collection of DNA pattern data for many species using these techniques will allow a better understanding of the interactions and behavior within bacterial populations. This understanding with flow cytometry as the analytical driver will open up new pathways for microbially‐driven applications such as catalysts for hazardous waste reduction or the targeted formation of enzymes and metabolites. (Cell Prolif. 2007;40:621–639).