Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Science News: Antarctic microbes revived

Researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, US have managed to extract and grow bacteria from ice which was between three and five metres beneath the surface of debris covered glaciers in Antarctica.

The bacteria recovered and grew very quickly, according to the report. Those found in younger ice (100 000 years old) were more numerous and doubled in size faster than those found in older ice (several million years old).

One of the age-related factors that influence the revival rate of frozen bacteria seems to be the length of exposure to cosmic radiation. This damaging radiation, naturally stronger at the poles, causes DNA degradation, which increases rapidly for bacteria older than approximately one million years.

The full story from the BBC news website is available here: Ancient microbes 'revived' in lab

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