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Bacteria Wakes Up After 120,000 Years

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State College, PA — Scientists from Penn State (Pennsylvania State University) have revived a bacteria that was believed to have been dormant for over 120,000 years. The sample was taken from 2 miles beneath a glacier in Greenland.

Jean Brenchley of Pennsylvania State University said, “We don’t know what state they were in. They could have been dormant, or they could have been slowly metabolizing. We don’t know for sure. Microbes have found ways to survive in harsh conditions for long times that we don’t yet fully understand.”

After eleven months of slowly warming the sample, the colonies are thriving. They have been named Herminiimonas glaciei.

“We were able to recover it and get it to grow in our laboratory,” Jean said. “It was viable.”

Leader of the study, Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, said, “What’s unique is that it’s so small, and seems to survive on so few nutrients. Along with the snow, you get dust, bacterial cells, fungal spores, plant spores, minerals and other organic debris. So we postulate that it lives in these microniches in the ice. All we can say is that because ice is the best medium to preserve nucleic acids, other organic compounds and cells, the potential for finding them in these environments is quite high because of the cold. It gives us hope that if something is there, we can locate it “

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