Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Posted: 6/15/2009 12:34:57 PM EST
Microbe Wakes Up After 120,000 Years

LiveScience.com jeanna Bryner senior Writer

Mon Jun 15, 11:46 am ET

After more than 120,000 years trapped beneath a block of ice in Greenland, a tiny microbe has awoken. The long-lasting bacteria may hold clues to what life forms might exist on other planets.

The new bacteria species was found nearly 2 miles (3 km) beneath a Greenland glacier, where temperatures can dip well below freezing, pressure soars, and food and oxygen are scarce.

"We don't know what state they were in," said study team member Jean Brenchley of Pennsylvania State University. "They could've been dormant, or they could've been slowly metabolizing, but we don't know for sure."

Dormant would mean the bacteria were in a spore-like state in which there's not a lot of metabolism going on, so the bacteria wouldn't be reproducing much. It's possible the bacteria could have been slowly metabolizing and replicating.

"Microbes have found ways to survive in harsh conditions for long times that we don't yet fully understand," Brenchley told LiveScience.

To coax the bacteria back to life, Brenchley, Jennifer Loveland-Curtze and their Penn State colleagues incubated the samples at 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) for seven months, followed by more than four months at 41 degrees F (5 degrees C).

The resulting colonies of the originally purple-brown bacteria, now named Herminiimonas glaciei, are alive and well.

"We were able to recover it and get it to grow in our laboratory," Brenchley said. "It was viable."

Such vigor is partially due to the microbe's small size, the scientists speculate. Boasting dimensions that are 10 to 50 times smaller than Escherichia coli, the new bacteria likely could more efficiently absorb nutrients due to a larger surface-to-volume ratio. Tiny microbes like this one can also hide more easily from predators and take up residence among ice crystals and in the thin liquid film on those surfaces.

H. glaciei is not the first bacteria species resurrected after a possibly lengthy snooze beneath the ice. Loveland-Curtze and her team reported another hardy bacterium in the same area that had survived for about 120,000 years as well. Chryseobacterium greenlandensis had tiny bud-like structures on its surface that may have played a role in the organism's survival. Another bacterium survived more than 32,000 years in an Arctic tunnel, and was brought back to life a few years ago.

The harsh conditions endured by these microbes serve as models of other planets.

"These extremely cold environments are the best analogues of possible extraterrestrial habitats," Loveland-Curtze said, referring to the Greenland glacier. "The exceptionally low temperatures can preserve cells and nucleic acids for even millions of years."

And studying such microorganisms may provide insight into what sorts of life forms could survive elsewhere in the solar system.

The new bacterium is described in the current issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:38:15 PM EST
Tag for "Andromeda Strain" news to follow shortly...
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:38:17 PM EST
You were not supposed to thaw it out.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:38:19 PM EST
yep, we're all gonna die

I'm heading for the hills.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:40:10 PM EST
Oh shit, I bet it's hungry...
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:46:04 PM EST
I've seen movies that start like this....
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:47:10 PM EST

So is it resuming its seat in Congress?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:47:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By Ecko:
I've seen movies that start like this....


Zombies here we come.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:47:23 PM EST
oh &*$%!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 12:54:25 PM EST
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:04:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!



Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:06:18 PM EST
The Earth is only 6000yrs old .
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:06:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!



Oh boy another bigot.

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:07:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!



que?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:30:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!



Personally it leads me to believe that some of God's creations are vast, infinite, and fascinating, and some try to start fights for no good reason.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:32:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By Spyder7:
Originally Posted By Ecko:
I've seen movies that start like this....


Zombies here we come.


I saw the article on Yahoo earlier. This was my immediate thought.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:35:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By Florg:
Originally Posted By Spyder7:
Originally Posted By Ecko:
I've seen movies that start like this....


Zombies here we come.


I saw the article on Yahoo earlier. This was my immediate thought.


Time to remove the cover from the p-mags? or should they still be uncovered from swine flu zombies?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:38:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!





LOL let the douchebaggery athiest agendas commence,

and let the overly calm christian responses retaliate


wow. shit like this get old REAL fast, and ive only been on this website for a few months.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:38:13 PM EST
Am I the only one that's going to welcome our new Microbe Overlords?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:39:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:44:13 PM EST


First official picture of the microbe.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:45:13 PM EST
...and so it begins...
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:48:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 1:48:42 PM EST by ElevenO]




I really wish helen thomas would put her make-up on before she came to work each morning.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:50:34 PM EST
Great, I saw that movie where they screw with stuff up north, at the pole or something, and then everybody dies, except Snake Pliskin. We are doomed.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:53:42 PM EST
"My, this is an interesting plant..............."


Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:53:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By hotbiggun42:
The Earth is only 6000yrs old .


Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:55:45 PM EST
This will not end well.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:56:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
I wonder how things like this fit into Christian's definition of "life."

What a miracle, you can put it on hold for 120,000 years!



This is an ARFCOM members definition of a worthwhile post
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 1:57:48 PM EST
The late Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park in reality, he was way ahead of his time.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 2:00:51 PM EST
That's older than Site Staff!
Top Top