Microbe Awakens From 120,000 Year Slumber

Posted by on June 15th, 2009
Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Down, down, two miles below the surface of a Greenland glacier, in sub-zero temperatures inhospitable to most existing life, a new form of bacteria was discovered frozen in time. A team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania played microbial Frankenstein and revived the tiny bacteria now dubbed Herminiimonas glaciei.

The debate still continues over whether the bacteria had been reproducing at an incredibly slow metabolic rate for thousands of years, or if they lay dormant as spores for the elapsed time. Either way, the discovery of these microscopic critters gives insight into what bacteria might be like that exist in similar harsh climates on other planets.

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