Monday, June 15, 2009

IT'S DIFFICULT to count the ways this could go horribly wrong:
A tiny bacterium has been coaxed back to life after spending 120,000 years buried three kilometres deep in the Greenland ice sheet.

Researchers who found it say it could resemble microbes that may have evolved in ice on other planets.

Officially named Herminiimonas glaciei, the bug consists of rods just 0.9 micrometres long and 0.4 micrometres in diameter, about 10 to 50 times smaller than the well-known bacterium, Escherichia coli.

"What's unique is that it's so small, and seems to survive on so few nutrients," says Jennifer Loveland-Curtze of Pennsylvania State University, whose team has described the new species.
Yeah, and let's hope that what's unique too isn't how fast Ms. Loveland-Curtze and her colleagues have to work to find an antibiotic to kill it. Shouldn't they be trying to fight superbugs first? They're killins hundreds of thousands of people all over the world every year. Do we need another one?