Jurassic era bugs still alive in salt crystalsMarch 9th, 2011 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 9 (IANS) Scientists have stumbled upon an exciting find — microbes from the Jurassic era are still alive in salt crystals.
Eighteen years ago, “Jurassic Park” thrilled the world with the idea that dinosaurs could be resurrected from bits of DNA preserved in mosquitoes trapped in ancient amber. Ever since the movie’s release, scientists have been finding that parts of this scenario are closer to reality than anyone ever imagined, the journal Nature reports.
In 2000, microbiologist Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania and his colleagues found a 250-million-year-old bacterium - still alive - inside a tiny droplet of water in a salt crystal.
Although the find was controversial, further studies have found evidence of other bugs called archaea surviving tens of thousands, if not millions, of years in salt crystals, according to a West Chester University statement.
And just two years after the Vreeland study, Steven Fish, microbiologist at the University of Leicester in Britain and colleagues reported that they extracted DNA from bacteria and another type of microbe called haloarchaea from halite samples up to 425 million years old.
The discovery of ancient life trapped in salt raises many exciting questions: Could these hibernating microbes be brought back to active life today?
-Indo-Asian News Service
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