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Microbiology: April 2021


When grown in the laboratory, slime moulds (Physarum polycephalum) can spread over several square metres and double in size in a day. But how will they behave once in space?

It's like something out of science fiction. Research led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has revealed that a group of microbes, which feed off chemical reactions triggered by radioactivity, have been at an evolutionary standstill for millions of years.

Roughly five years ago, Institute Head Prof. Dr. William (Bill) Martin and his team introduced the last universal common ancestor of all living organisms and named it "LUCA". It lived approximately 3.8 billion years ago in hot deep sea hydrothermal vents.