2001 Annual Science Report

Michigan State University Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

Executive Summary

Project Summary

Low temperature is a predominant environmental characteristic of interstellar space, our solar system, including most of the planets and their satellites, and asteroids and meteors. An understanding of the impact of low temperatures on the responses and evolution of biological organisms is, thus, integral to our knowledge of Astrobiology. The research that we propose will explore multiple aspects of microbial adaptation to low temperatures. One major line of investigation will be to conduct structural and functional genomic and proteomic analyses of bacteria that have been isolated from the Arctic and Antarctic permafrost. What genes and proteins enable the permafrost bacteria to inhabit these subfreezing environments? Do they have specific “freezing tolerance” genes and proteins, or “specialized alleles” of commonly found bacterial genes, or both? How is expression of the bacterial genome affected by low temperatures and other conditions that “hitchhiker” bacteria might encounter ... Continue reading.

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