Ancient Bacteria



  1. I have been reading reports about a scientist that has claimed to have cultured bacteria spores that are around 30 million years old, and another research group has claimed to have revived 250 million year old bacteria from spores trapped in salt crystals.


    Reference:
    Jurassic Park II - natures preservative
    Dr. Raul J. Cano' s research laboratory - broken webpage
    Ancient bacteria brought back to life - microbiologists Raul J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki at California Polytechnic State University
    Raúl Cano - The Scientist Who Revived 30-Million-Year-Old Bacteria
    Prehistoric bacteria revived from buried salt
    Insects in baltic amber - Wikipedia
    Fossil amber with a bee - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,533
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    Gold Member

    Part of the problem with that research is that it is now known that there are large volumes of archeabacteria - primitive organisms - that live in the earth's crust and have been there, growing, for very long periods of time.

    It is really hard to to assert that you isolated some long dormant organism 300 million years old, when it is known that the earth's crust is riddled with these things and they are currently known to be living right now. So, which hypothesis relies on the simplest explanation, one that invokes the least amount of "leading edge" brand new science?

    It does not mean it cannot be correct, just that it is reasonably unlikely. And there are much less exotic explanations. Are there papers from refereed journals on this subject that are recent - like in the past 4 years?
     

  4. The most recent paper I could locate by Cano via cross-referencing Google and Wikipedia is from 1995.

    Raúl J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki, “Revival and Identification of Bacterial Spores in 25- to 40-Million-Year-Old Dominican Amber,” Science, Vol. 268, 19 May 1995, pp. 1060–1064.

    Abstract:
    A bacterial spore was revived, cultured, and identified from the abdominal contents of extinct bees preserved for 25 to 40 million years in buried Dominican amber. Rigorous surface decontamination of the amber and aseptic procedures were used during the recovery of the bacterium. Several lines of evidence indicated that the isolated bacterium was of ancient origin and not an extant Contaminant. The characteristic enzymatic, biochemical, and 16S ribosomal DNA profiles indicated that the ancient bacterium is most closely related to extant Bacillus sphaericus.

    Reference:
    Archaea - Wikipedia
    www.sciencemag.org - Raúl J. Cano
    adsabs.harvard.edu - Raúl J. Cano
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Raúl J. Cano
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  5. baywax

    baywax 2,215
    Gold Member

    And we wonder where all these "super bugs" are coming from!
     
  6. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    Chickens
    Take an animal famous for incubating diseases that cause epidemics in humans.
    Feed them all the human antibiotics and a few that aren't used yet in humans.
    Keep millions in close proximity in warm humid dirty environments.
    Then put them in open sided trucks and drive them around the country so the air borne pathogens can spread out.

    It would be a perfect biological weapons system - if you didn't insist on doing it in your own country.
     
  7. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    Damn saboteurs. Bunch of chicken livered, mad cow herds.
     
  8. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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  9. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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  10. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    The best place to look for (life science related) papers is Pubmed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez

    Search for "Cano RJ" [au] and you will find more recent papers. You can replace [au] by [1au] or [lastau] to look for his first- or last-author papers, respectively.
     
  11. baywax

    baywax 2,215
    Gold Member

    I better contribute something worthwhile here:

    Ancient bacteria offer new line of attack on cystic fibrosis
    December 16, 2008

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/ancient-bacteria-1216.html
     
  12. Interesting and well worth keeping a eye on.
     
  13. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    When considering their claims note that they have a company that stands to benefit from this. They were also granted a patent on just about anything to do with any ancient biological material.
     
  14. baywax

    baywax 2,215
    Gold Member

    There's not a huge database to collect monies from here... though costs are high for treatment and care. These costs may actually drop considerably with an effective deterrent to the disease in use.

    http://www.lungusa.org/site/c.dvLUK9O0E/b.4070499/
     
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