Just what earth needs. A resurrected 120,000 yr old bug.

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Post 3+ Months Ago

OK, so yeah it's cool. Scientists find a 120,000 year old "dormant" microbe which just happens to have resided quietly and peacefully under nearly 2 miles of ice in Greenland, then incubate it for 11 months to successfully bring the thing back to life, and of course it immediately starts replicating itself.

Quote:
Finally the bug sprang back to life and began producing fresh colonies of purple brown bacteria.


OK, cool. But did any of them stop to wonder what kind of nasty's this little toy bug of theirs could do? Gotta love the mentality of scientists. What if it's potent enough to cause a global epidemic of some kind?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... rs-2009-06
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Post 3+ Months Ago

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Ugh, yeah I had a similar reaction. That little purple bug was gone for a reason. I don't know why they think they have the right to reincarnate the blasted thing.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It would be pretty cool if the bug was from around a time when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere, trives on the stuff and it ended up solving the global warming problem.

Maybe it will pave the way for some new super penicillin and help in the fight against current drug-resistant infections.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

1st. Global Warming is a myth. The Earth has been cooling for the last 10 years.

2nd. Just because you "can" do something, doesn't mean that you should. I'd hate life to be wiped out by some "super bug" that scientists were so smart to resurect.
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People will always do stuff just because they can. If you had a big red button with a sign on it that said "NEVER EVER EVER PRESS THIS BUTTON ON PAIN OF DEATH AND THE END OF THE WORLD" people would press it to just see the end of the world!
  • devilwood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Herminiimonas glaciei shouldn't prove harmful to humans. While the microbe does have amazing properties to withstand extreme temperatures and survive, most human pathogens are mesophiles which grow at moderate temperatures 18-40 degrees C. Being that they only incubated the cells between 2-5 C then the microbe would have difficulties inside the human body without further adaptations. Another plus is it's small size would be easily phagocytized by the immune system and could possible be easily cleared. Unfortunately, with the rise of HIV/AIDS there are many microbes that are now medically relevant that really shouldn't be. Exposure to this bacteria to a normal immune system would be perfectly ok.

I found it interesting the scientist brought back dormant cells and not spores from that length of time. Usually spore forming bacteria can survive in harsh conditions by packing some of its DNA in a spore when the vegetative cell dies and once conditions are again suitable then it will start replicating. This is, of course, how anthrax is delivered in spore form.
  • Jenie0109
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think we should also look on the bright side. This might be the start of something new. Like a cure for a certain disease or a good bacteria that could provide health benefits.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How long do you think it will be before someone tries to smoke it ?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
How long do you think it will be before someone tries to smoke it ?

LMAO, they probably already have. :P
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Post 3+ Months Ago

tastysite wrote:
People will always do stuff just because they can. If you had a big red button with a sign on it that said "NEVER EVER EVER PRESS THIS BUTTON ON PAIN OF DEATH AND THE END OF THE WORLD" people would press it to just see the end of the world!

For example... :lol:
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I, for one, welcome our new bacterial overlords.
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Oh crap, we're too late. Spork obviously smoked it and now it has his brain. *sigh*
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This may be a cure or a link to a cure for something people thought the earth was flat for so long because they didn't understand and now we understand much more thanks to "modern" science why would we do or think anything to deny the furthering of science. This one little microbe could be the key to something new and who know what untill we study it. This is just like the stem cell research arguements, well if we can clone someones heart that has cardiomiopathy or clone a new colon for someone with crones why would we not want to do that.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This little microbe could be the cure for HIV/AIDS or Cancer or Hepatitis C (I wish... I have that darn thing), or for some other chronic disorder/disease.

OR

This little microbe could be another disease with no cure to. It's like opening a Pandora box (Is that the phrase/term?). You don't know what's in it until you open it.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Of course however like many prescription drugs on the market now they often have seperate side effects one disease could be a cure for another we just have to decide how to deal with them as a whole.
  • Jenie0109
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Spork is already infested. LOL
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Where do people get their anti-science attitudes from these days? It's quite sad really and few seem to realise where it will ultimately lead or how they came to have their own heads filled with such silly views. Bringing bacteria out of dormancy is no big deal. Really. It amazes me to see the whole internet full of "idiot scientists" type headlines. It beggars belief and reflects the shocking state of scientific ignorance that exists today. You should be more worried about amateurs doing genetic engineering in their kitchens or garages.

When glacier ice melts or spills into the sea such organisms are released all the time. The Blood Falls at the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica are a particularly dramatic example (although these are living bacteria as opposed to dormant).

Image

If folks would care to use their inborn sense of wonder and curiosity you'd see why this study is actually very interesting. Aside from the bacteriology, there are all sorts of interesting questions ranging from evolution to astrobiology that these organisms can shed light upon.

Besides, these 120,000 year old bacteria are just youngsters - far, far older specimens have been revived previously. (There was also a claim for a 250 million year old species being cultured after being found dormant inside a salt crystal - although it was a controversial claim)
  • devilwood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Let's not forget the stromatolites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite

These are billions of year old fossilized cyanobacteria which probably aided in oxygenating the earth's atmosphere moreso than plants and still provide much of the usable oxygen today as the primary producers.

I've also seen in the lab a differentiated cyanobacterial cell which has a small compartment that helps it in photosynthesis. So, these microbes kinda bridge the gap between prokarya and eukarya which membrane bound organelles being the main difference.


So yeah, 120k year old microbe is still not that old. Most of the known species we know have probably been around for 1000s of years too, but remember we estimate we know about 1% of the microbes contained in 1 gram of soil.

While there's tons of news on microbiology and it has been practiced for 1000s of years from early fermenting practices in BC to pastes made from moldy breads during the medieval ages, the general public seems to think we know all there is to know about microbes with all the BS news reports and discoveries. The father of modern day microbiology was Pasteur who died just before the turn of the 20th century and DNA wasn't discovered until just around the birth of my father in 1948 which wasn't but about 60 years ago or so. The field of microbiology itself is very new in comparison with say physics or other sciences partly because microbiology deals with microscopic materials. So, until the advent of the microscope did we increase our understanding. I, of course, credit microbes with the invention of religion. You can't tell me that if someone got lockjaw back in 5000 BC and bowed up so much that they broke their back, that you wouldn't think that person just got possessed by a demon. Anyway, there's still tons to do in microbiology.

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