Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Space bacteria

Creepy.

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 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.

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