The research sheds light on the remarkable survival power of some of Earth's most primitive species Photo: JAMSTEC/IODP/AFP
tech

Scientists revive microbes from 100 million years ago

15 Comments
By Patrick GALEY

Scientists have successfully revived microbes that had lain dormant at the bottom of the sea since the age of the dinosaurs, allowing the organisms to eat and even multiply after eons in the deep.

Their research sheds light on the remarkable survival power of some of Earth's most primitive species, which can exist for tens of millions of years with barely any oxygen or food before springing back to life in the lab.

A team led by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology analyzed ancient sediment samples deposited more than 100 million years ago on the seabed of the South Pacific.

The region is renowned for having far fewer nutrients in its sediment than normal, making it a far-from-ideal site to maintain life over millennia.

The team incubated the samples to help coax the microbes out of their epoch-spanning slumber.

Astonishingly, they were able to revive nearly all of the microorganisms.

"When I found them, I was first skeptical whether the findings are from some mistake or a failure in the experiment," said lead author Yuki Morono.

"We now know that there is no age limit for (organisms in the) sub-seafloor biosphere," he told AFP.

URI Graduate School of Oceanography professor and study co-author Steven D'Hondt said the microbes came from the oldest sediment drilled from the seabed.

"In the oldest sediment we've drilled, with the least amount of food, there are still living organisms, and they can wake up, grow and multiply," he said.

Morono explained that oxygen traces in the sediment allowed the microbes to stay alive for millions of years while expending virtually no energy.

Energy levels for seabed microbes "are million of times lower than that of surface microbes," he said.

Such levels would be far too low to sustain the surface microbes, and Morono said it was a mystery how the seabed organisms had managed to survive.

Previous studies have shown how bacteria can live on some of the least hospitable places on Earth, including around undersea vents that are devoid of oxygen.

Morono said the new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, proved the remarkable staying power of some of Earth's simplest living structures.

"Unlike us, microbes grow their population by divisions, so they do not actually have the concept of lifespan," he added.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


15 Comments
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Are they identical to any known organism? If so, they are probably not any more dangerous than the organisms we already know. If not, one would have the right to ask if this is a wise thing to do.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Has anyone seen The Thing...?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

what could possibly go wrong??

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Has anyone seen The Thing...?

Or the 2017 "Life"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Agree with Jayman.

Let's reopen Fort Detrick, reconnect with the Wuhan P4 lab, and start 'gain of function' research right away.

Who knows?

Maybe we can use those critters to create a vaccine and save us from another future pandemic?

What could possibly go wrong??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh what tales these microbes could tell...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Or the 2017 "Life"?

That movie didn't get all the credit that it deserved. People were also trying to connected it to the Venom series.

Yeah, I am waiting fro someone to revive some ancient deadly virus or some parasitic organism that takes over our minds or alter our DNA into a prehistoric monster lurking in the thawing poles with all that methane.

How about an alien invasion anyone?

I mean it will fit in perfectly with all things happening in 2020!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Makes sense in the middle of the current health crisis......

Is there any useful point to doing this?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

PARIS Scientists have successfully revived microbes that had lain dormant at the bottom of the sea since the age of the dinosaurs

When man messes with nature, she hits back.

Nice knowing something else survived from back then, BUT, is it worth the risk ?

If these microbes are dangerous, then its Pandora box.

They maybe not be dangerous to humans, but what about other life on Earth ?

It might even be a threat to food sources.

No matter how well the lab reduces possible risk of it getting out, there is still a risk.

Coronavirus origin has been claimed to come from nature off meat sold at a market and others claim it came from the Chinese Lab doing research on virus and bacteria close to the same market.

We all know one thing. A previous unknown virus comes to light and people die.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What risk, any competent research lab has protocols and equipment in place to ensure isolation. I think some people have been watching too many Hollywood horror movies during lockdown and confusing them with reality.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

 and they can wake up, grow and multiply,

exactly why you shouldn’t mess with them, doc

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I, for one, welcome our new microbial overlords...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This year Corona,

next year this Microbes which unintentionally escape the lab through a careless

technician and the Era of the 12 Monkey will become reality !!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have to ask myself

Now that they recently dug up these live creatures

How many creatures did they unknowingly release that may contain deadly viruses or bacteria?

That we will encounter across the world that will escape as has done in the past.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Scientists revive microbes from 100 million years ago

Why can't these scientists do something useful like finding a cure for the coronavirus rather than bringing back dead microbes?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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