‘Conan the Bacterium’ could have been the origin of life on Earth

July 19th, 2010 - 1:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, July 19 (ANI): Brazilian scientists have suggested that organisms like a microbe dubbed ‘Conan the Bacterium’ could have been the origin of life on Earth, after they found that it could withstand space travel.

Researchers subjected the bug, Deinococcus radiodurans, to powerful radiation, freezing temperatures and a vacuum chamber, all designed to simulate conditions found on meteorites and other rocks in space.Such conditions would instantly destroy almost any known organism, but the D. radiodurans colonies could not only survive but could even regenerate when conditions returned to normal.Researchers suggested such powers make the bug, or a similar organism, a potential candidate for spreading life between planets in the early days of the solar system, reports news.com.au.D. radiodurans, which has a red, spherical shape, was discovered five decades ago after a can of corned beef went rotten despite having been sterilised by radiation.

However, it is only now that the durability of the microbe has only been realised.The most likely explanation for the germ’s toughness is that each bug possesses four to 10 copies of its genome, rather than the usual single version.

It also has a highly efficient repair system, so even if the DNA is ripped apart by radiation, bits can easily be spliced together again. (ANI)

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