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Thread: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

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    Default Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) It sounds like the plot for a scary B-movie: Germs go into space on a rocket and come back stronger and deadlier than ever. Except, it really happened. The germ: Salmonella, best known as a culprit of food poisoning. The trip: Space Shuttle STS-115, September 2006. The reason: Scientists wanted to see how space travel affects germs, so they took some along carefully wrapped for the ride. The result: Mice fed the space germs were three times more likely to get sick and died quicker than others fed identical germs that had remained behind on Earth.

    "Wherever humans go, microbes go, you can't sterilize humans. Wherever we go, under the oceans or orbiting the earth, the microbes go with us, and it's important that we understand ... how they're going to change," explained Cheryl Nickerson, an associate professor at the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at Arizona State University.

    Nickerson added, in a telephone interview, that learning more about changes in germs has the potential to lead to novel new countermeasures for infectious disease.

    She reports the results of the salmonella study in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The researchers placed identical strains of salmonella in containers and sent one into space aboard the shuttle, while the second was kept on Earth, under similar temperature conditions to the one in space.

    After the shuttle returned, mice were given varying oral doses of the salmonella and then were watched.

    After 25 days, 40 percent of the mice given the Earth-bound salmonella were still alive, compared with just 10 percent of those dosed with the germs from space. And the researchers found it took about one-third as much of the space germs to kill half the mice, compared with the germs that had been on Earth.

    The researchers found 167 genes had changed in the salmonella that went to space.

    Why?

    "That's the 64 million dollar question," Nickerson said. "We do not know with 100 percent certainty what the mechanism is of space flight that's inducing these changes."

    However, they think it's a force called fluid shear.

    "Being cultured in microgravity means the force of the liquid passing over the cells is low." The cells "are responding not to microgravity, but indirectly to microgravity in the low fluid shear effects."

    "There are areas in the body which are low shear, such as the gastrointestinal tract, where, obviously, salmonella finds itself," she went on. "So, it's clear this is an environment not just relevant to space flight, but to conditions here on Earth, including in the infected host."

    She said it is an example of a response to a changed environment.

    "These bugs can sense where they are by changes in their environment. The minute they sense a different environment, they change their genetic machinery so they can survive," she said.

    The research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Louisiana Board of Regents, Arizona Proteomics Consortium, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, National Institutes of Health and the University of Arizona.
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Space creates mutant 'superbugs'
    Salmonella typhimurium (red) invade cultured human cells in this colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph





    Bacteria flown on the space shuttle mutated in ways that made them nearly three times more deadly to mice, reports a new study. While the bugs are also likely to affect astronauts' health, the research team found clues that may help render them harmless.

    Astrobiologists have long been worried that the low-gravity conditions of space could make disease-causing microbes that hitch-hike on shuttle missions mutate in unpredictable ways. To investigate, Cheryl Nickerson at Arizona State University in Tempe, US, and her colleagues launched flasks of the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium into space on the shuttle Atlantis in September 2006.

    The shuttle returned after 12 days, during which time the microbes had altered the way they express 167 genes compared with bacteria that remained on Earth. The team found that these space-mutated bugs were almost three times as likely to kill infected mice compared with their ground-grown counterparts. That could be bad news if the results hold true for astronauts, since some experiments suggest the weightlessness of space travel suppresses the immune system.

    But the news is not all bad. Nickerson and her colleagues also identified the protein, called Hfq, believed to be behind the change. "An overwhelming number of the [affected] genes are regulated by Hfq," she says.
    Achilles' heel

    Strains of Salmonella without normally functioning Hfq did not show the gene expression changes when they were tested under microgravity conditions in the lab. Nickerson says this knowledge could one day be leveraged to "design targeted strategies and countermeasures to mitigate infectious disease risks to the crew during future missions".

    The work may also help combat Salmonella on Earth. Micro-organisms growing in a liquid in microgravity experience low fluid forces that are similar in many ways to those that the bugs encounter on Earth inside their hosts, she explains. "An exciting part of this work is the opportunity to use spaceflight as a novel research platform for innovations in infectious disease control here on Earth," she told New Scientist.

    Robert McLean, a microbiologist at Texas State University in San Marcos, US, who has also flown bacterial experiments on space shuttles, is impressed with the new study.

    "On Earth, we're so used to gravity that we ignore it, but for the first time we're seeing that gravity may be needed for genes to be expressed," he told New Scientist. "I think that transcends the space programme, and tells us something hugely important about biology in general."
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Shades of The Andromeda Strain! I am fairly certain that most of our probes to other planets, Mars in particular, have been built in microbe clean rooms. At least I would like to think so.

    I remember when the astronaughts returned from the moon trips being isolated in the little airstream trailer thing.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Yep. But, you know what? Something is going to kill us all, sooner or later. haha.. I'm not worried.
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    Yep. But, you know what? Something is going to kill us all, sooner or later. haha.. I'm not worried.
    I'm betting on my wife killing me sooner. Never jokingly tell a woman that's recently lost weight... "About time". It may be funny to a man but for a woman it's an invitation to a quick death.
    Brian Baldwin

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Brian, she should kick your ass for that. LOL! I have seen the hell you give her sometimes. I wouldn't be surprised if she beat you senseless with your own computer! LOL!
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Mrs. Luke is much better shot than Mr. Luke. Not having a death wish I shy away from all questions regarding mass of the female partner.

    On the inverse of this topic, when we retrieve moon rocks and eventually Mars soil I would suspect they would be treated with great respect, microbally speaking.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Well, in the 1960s and 1970s they were concerned MORE with bringing something BACK, rather than taking it out. However, they did everything in clean rooms, certainly to prevent infecting the moon's environment.

    however, my thinking on this is that we're being bombarded every day for billions of years by stuff from space. We didn't just evolve here, we CAME here from elsewhere. Perhaps human life was placed here by God, perhaps we simply arrived in another form and evolved.

    Either way, I believe that ALL life comes from "out there". Hell, spiders and other arthopods are ALIEN damn it. No matter what anyone says, every thing on this planet has 5 "limbs" except insects and arthopods.

    Two arms, two legs and a head. Starfish even. Lizards and snakes are reptiles, but they have remnants of leg bones (even legless lizards you find in the Amazon jungle). FISH have front and back "limbs" and a head.

    Spiders eight legs, and ick... eight EYES.

    They are from outerspace, and came here after we did.
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    OH! and arthopods have a vascular system based on COPPER instead of IRON! How freaky is that anyway?
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    and... lastly, 80% of the known animal species are arthopods.... so they are trying to take OVER. I say squish them when you see them.
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    OH! and arthopods have a vascular system based on COPPER instead of IRON! How freaky is that anyway?
    Not as strange as you might think.



    (Second time I've used that picture! )

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    I knew you'd do that too! lol
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    I give Patty hell but it's only a fraction of what she gives me. She's a sassy little woman. I love that about her. lol
    Brian Baldwin

    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.... For I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.


    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out." - Tony Blair on America



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    -Father Denis O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp.


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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Well, I don't remember you saying "About time" to me Brian lol.
    I doubt you would be posting anymore if you had hehe.

    As for me killing you before anything else does....
    WHATEVER!

    It is just so much fun to see you suffer on a daily basis heh.

    And Rick, Why would I ruin a good computer to beat his ass? lol
    I don't need props.

    (I will agree to the sassy part though lol)

    -Patty

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    (Snicker...)
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    I've had 4 heart attacks since I've been with Patty. Case closed.
    Brian Baldwin

    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.... For I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.


    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out." - Tony Blair on America



    It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    -Father Denis O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp.


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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    Case Open again...

    4 heart attacks since you've been with me...
    without me, you probably wouldn't be here anymore.
    I've treated you better then anyone else in your past, you can't dispute that. So, I guess you can't blame it on me afterall hehe.

    Case closed again.

    -Patty

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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    hehehehe kick him again, Patty! LOL!
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    Default Re: Germs Taken Into Space Come Back Stronger

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/sc...=1&oref=slogin

    NASA may not be as clean as I thought !
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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