Skip to comments.Space microbes aren't so alien after all
Posted on 01/08/2019 6:23:46 PM PST by BenLurkin
While the team found that the bacteria isolated from the ISS did contain different genes than their Earthling counterparts, those genes did not make the bacteria more detrimental to human health. The bacteria are instead simply responding, and perhaps evolving, to survive in a stressful environment.
As the conversation about sending travelers to Mars gets more serious, there has been an increasing interest in understanding how microbes behave in enclosed environments.
"People will be in little capsules where they cannot open windows, go outside or circulate the air for long periods of time," said Hartmann. "We're genuinely concerned about how this could affect microbes."
The ISS houses thousands of different microbes, which have traveled into space either on astronauts or in cargo. The National Center for Biotechnology Information maintains a publicly available database, containing the genomic analyses of many of bacteria isolated from the ISS. Hartmann's team used that data to compare the strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus on the ISS to those on Earth.
Found on human skin, S. aureus contains the tough-to-treat MRSA strain. B. cereus lives in soil and has fewer implications for human health.
To adapt to living on surfaces, the bacteria containing advantageous genes are selected for or they mutate. For those living on the ISS, these genes potentially helped the bacteria respond to stress, so they could eat, grow and function in a harsh environment.
"Based on genomic analysis, it looks like bacteria are adapting to livenot evolving to cause disease," said Ryan Blaustein, a postdoctoral fellow in Hartmann's laboratory and the study's first author.
Although this is good news for astronauts and potential space tourists, Hartmann and Blaustein are careful to point out that unhealthy people can still spread illness on space stations and space shuttles.
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
I doubt that any bacteria or virus on earth evolved specifically to cause other organisms disease either. They simply evolved to take advantage of environments they found themselves in contact with that held opportunities to thrive.
Without death, there cannot be life.
Oh...thought this was a discussion about Schumer and Pelosi. Sorry...leaving now.
Even worms gotta eat! :-)
Classic movie :)
Thanks fieldmarshaldj. Space Bugs!!!!!
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