Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weird Wednesday ~ Jurassic Germ Resurrected

A 500 million-year-old bacteria has been brought back to life in a laboratory at Georgia Tech in an experiment with echoes of Jurassic Park's disastrous recreation of the dinosaurs. 
The researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene and inserted it into a modern E Coli bacteria. The 'Frankenstein' germ has thrived. In the lab, the creation has now lived through 1,000 generations.
The scientists hope to find out whether the 'ancient' bacteria will evolve the same way it did 'first time round' - or whether it will evolve into a different, new organism.

The new 'chimeric' bacteria has mutated rapidly - and some have become stronger and healthier than today's germs. 

Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.
When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations. 
Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness. 
In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.

Click here to read the whole article!


Robin Larkspur said...

So I guess Lysol won't have any power over this "germ-a-saur"?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

LOL @ Robin! I can't top that comment!

Introverted Art said...

I was getting ready to write my super righteous comment until I read Robin's comment and I can't stop laughing my ass off. I have freaking tear streaming down my face and my husband came out of the room asking if I was ok (I think he thought I was choking on something)