Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not So Andromeda Strain

A week ago I wrote about a possible Real Life Andromeda Strain in Peru. The New York Times reports Peru's Meteor Illness Explained. Apparently the meteor's impact caused some underground arsenic deposits to be released as steam which sickened 30 people.

Meanwhile National Geographic reports Lethal Bacteria Turn Deadlier After Space Travel after a 2006 experiment on the space shuttle Atlantis found that Salmonella came back to earth 3 times deadlier than when it left. Apparently it has to do with space causing low fluid shear around the cell. This is similar to inside our gastrointestinal tracts and maybe that explains why bacteria thrive there. If anyone can explain this better than this horrible NYT blog which just punted on an unintelligible explanation, I'd appreciate it.

1 comment:

paul said...

Yes, the NYTimes blog explanation was poor. I think the short answer is that they really don't the specific mechanism by which being in a low gravity increased the virulence. The increased virulence does appear to be linked to the expression of one particular gene that regulates the expression of many other genes, and there many, many factors that could up/down a regulate a single gene.