View Full Version : WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! (Andromeda Strain Edition)

The Mad Monk
26-09-2007, 18:14:57

Bacteria sent to space come back more infectious
Sep 24 07:09 PM US/Eastern

Microbes that cause salmonella came back from spaceflight even more virulent and dangerous in an experiment aboard the US space shuttle Atlantis, according to a study published on Monday.

The experiment by microbiologists at Arizona State University sent tubes with salmonella bacteria on a shuttle flight in September 2006 to measure how space flight might affect disease-causing microbes.

The salmonella sample that travelled millions of kilometers (miles) in orbit changed their pattern of certain genes compared to identical bacteria back on Earth, said the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Following the shuttle flight, studies using mice showed the salmonella bacteria aboard the shuttle were "almost three times as likely to cause disease when compared with control bacteria grown on the ground," said a university statement outlining the study.

After about three weeks, 40 percent of mice fed the salmonella from Earth were still alive while only 10 percent of those given the bacteria from space survived, according to the study.

The professors who carried out the research, Cheryl Nickerson and lead author James Wilson, said the results of the research could help advance understanding of salmonella and other infectious diseases -- in space and on Earth -- possibly paving the way for development of new treatments.

Salmonella and other related bacterial pathogens are a leading cause of food-borne illness and infectious disease, particularly in developing countries. No vaccine exists for salmonella and it has become increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment, the study said.

The research revealed the key role of a regulatory protein, Hfq, which could be responsible for the enhanced virulence of the microbes after space flight, the authors said. The finding could shed light on how cells act on Earth.

The study also examined the morphology of the bacteria during space flight and found changes that indicate the formation of a biofilm, which was not observed in the samples grown on Earth. Biofilms are associated with increased virulence of bacteria.

The scientists plan to carry out more experiments on the same theme possibly on space shuttle flights in 2008.

Copyright AFP 2007, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium


Thanks to Drudge for the link.

I approve of this kind of research, I just hope they're being extra careful with the samples. I wonder if it was the increased radiation and the bacteria mutated faster (as they are wont to do), or if something else was going on.

26-09-2007, 18:43:35
"The salmonella sample that travelled millions of kilometers (miles)"


26-09-2007, 21:30:24

Greg W
27-09-2007, 00:00:23

27-09-2007, 08:07:11

6 months quarantine for returning astronauts.

27-09-2007, 08:12:53
I suspect this is just random mutation caused by cosmic radiation. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the bacteria died prematurely during the experiment as we may just be looking at the decedents of the few bacteria that didn't have a bad mutation to the radiation.

C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 08:14:27
To see what percentage of bacteria die is interesting?

27-09-2007, 08:18:53
I assume that's why they sent many different tubes, to see if the bacteria in the different tubes would mutate differently over the same journey. It's a much cheaper way of repeating the experiment than sending a single tube and flying a shuttle many times.

And if it was that the only bacteria that survive space travel are the most virulent mutations, that's still just as dangerous?

But I would still like to see if the results were repeated on a second flight.

C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 08:22:59
I would rather listen to some good music

27-09-2007, 08:25:18
Probably some Wagner.

C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 08:28:57
or some wanker

27-09-2007, 08:31:43

C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 08:34:15
Thanks, I'm not going to buy a dictionary

27-09-2007, 08:52:42
right, why should you, as you're gonna die anyway

27-09-2007, 11:32:43
Its more likely altered patterns of gene expression due to an environmental change than an actual mutation if it occured in multiple samples. That implies that the bacteria are somehow able to sense and react to some change (near-zero gravity?) - why being in space makes them more virulent is the interesting part. Is it a survival advantage or just an accident?

Living things do weird stuff in zero gravity. Plants grow funny, fetal development is all screwed up, blah, blah.

27-09-2007, 11:42:28

you mean that someone actually brought up a real fetus (sp? phoetus?) to watch it screweduppedly grow in 0g and study it?

but was it in an artificial womb or in an actual woman's belly?

did she got banged in orbit too?


27-09-2007, 11:46:45
Interesting that you assumed it was a human foetus. I think they used mice or something.

27-09-2007, 11:48:10


C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 12:27:25
I'm looking forward to it

27-09-2007, 12:32:38
to the former or the latter?

C.G.B. Spender
27-09-2007, 12:35:01
Both. Country AND Western

27-09-2007, 12:38:40
Abbot AND Costello

27-09-2007, 13:24:15
morbidity AND mortality

27-09-2007, 13:31:35
Did you know that....

... "morbid stuff" in italian just means "soft cloth"?

btw did you mean morbidity or morbility?

27-09-2007, 13:40:34
lest we forget:


who wanna be first?

27-09-2007, 13:47:51
if it means not having to listen to any more of your puns, me, and make it quick.

The Mad Monk
27-09-2007, 14:21:31
It must be morbidity, because I've never heard of morbility.

27-09-2007, 14:25:23
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
if it means not having to listen to any more of your puns, me, and make it quick. nonono me first pleezzzz

Dyl Ulenspiegel
27-09-2007, 14:30:39
Originally posted by MoSe
ZERO G !!!!

Mr B's bigger brother?

27-09-2007, 15:29:12

fun reading!

27-09-2007, 15:40:06
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
if it means not having to listen to any more of your puns, me, and make it quick.

why do you *HAVE TO* anyway?
nobody's forcing you

27-09-2007, 15:40:45
good point, i'll put you on ignore.