While everyone else was focusing on the spread of COVID-19 and the civil liberty/economic fallout of the crisis, many news stories went unnoticed in 2020. Ironically, many of them had to do with viruses and the possibility of scientists creating an unintentional pandemic.
Researchers retrieve dormant, prehistoric microorganisms…and revive them
One such story involves a team of scientists from the US and Japan, who have been able to "wake up" microbes that have been dormant for nearly 100 million years. The scientists state that these microorganisms began to grow and divide even though they had entered an energy-saving state as far back as the time dinosaurs were still walking the Earth.
The microbes belonged to ten different bacteria groups retrieved from sediments mined in 2010 at the bottom of the South Pacific Gyre, one of the most desolate places in the ocean in terms of nutrients.
"Our results suggest that microbial communities widely distributed in organic-poor abyssal sediment consist mainly of aerobes that retain their metabolic potential under extremely low-energy conditions for up to 101.5 million years," the researchers wrote.