"This is amazing and a tribute to the adapability of bacteria.
1,500,000 rads of gamma radiation can't kill this stuff. Sure hope it
never shares plasmid dna for this trait with E coli and other types of
bacteria found in the meat before the radiation treatment. "
The problem of course is that in the hands of genetic researchers
this genetic material will inevitably be sliced and diced into a
variety of other organisms. This is precisely the hope of the
authors of the original article. As the story title indicated
RADIATION RESISTANT BACTERIA COULD ADVANCE
MEDICINE, WASTE CLEANUPS
"We anticipate a terrific boost for industrial and environmental
microbiology," said TIGR president Claire Fraser. "D. radiodurans is
readily manipulated in the lab, so new functions can be introduced
into its genome. We foresee its use for novel industrial processes
that most bacteria cannot survive."
For those that thought the terminator gene was dangerous this
should send shivers of terror down our spines. Transfers of the
virtually indestructable characteristic into industrial biological
applications would not be as open an exposure as would be
created by the release of the terminator gene in seed. But the
speed of replication would be measured in hours rather than years.
This could give the concept of "superbug" a completely new scale
John F. Devlin, International Project Coordinator,
School of Rural Planning and Development
Room 110 Textiles Building, The University of Guelph
Tel: 519-824-4120 Ext.3773 Fax: 519-821-9904
Visit the ECEP website: www.uoguelph.ca/~ecep
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