Resurrecting bacteria - origin of life?

  • Thread starter PIT2
  • Start date
  • #1
857
2

Main Question or Discussion Point

Death is the ultimate fate for most bacteria blasted by huge doses of radiation or parched by a severe lack of water. The genetic material irreversibly splinters into hundreds of pieces, dooming the organisms as surely as Humpty Dumpty.

But a few bacteria can "resurrect" themselves by quickly piecing their DNA back together. "There is no metabolism," Radman said. "The genome is shattered into hundreds of pieces. It is a dead cell.

"But out of this horrendous damage, it can resurrect."
Heres how:

D. radiodurans contains multiple copies of its genetic material, which can act as backups for each other, Radman says. Imagine that a cell's DNA holds the message "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." Since the spots where DNA breaks because of radiation or damage are random, each copy of the genetic material will likely have breaks in unique locations.

So if one DNA strand breaks into the split messages "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall" and "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall," there's likely another chunk of material floating around that can bridge the gap. The material might read "sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty," for example.

The bacteria then chemically glue matching pieces together. Once they're bound, the cells fill in the missing parts of each of the two stuck-together copies, the study shows. Using such clues, D. radiodurans can piece together all of its DNA in about three hours, even if it was split into hundreds of pieces.
Is it possible that a mechanism like this is also involved in the origin of life?
When they say the bacteria are dead and then reassemble their DNA, isnt this a form of abiogenesis?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
857
2
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads on Resurrecting bacteria - origin of life?

  • Last Post
Replies
17
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
25
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
63
Views
5K
Replies
16
Views
5K
Replies
12
Views
8K
Replies
14
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
755
Top