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2003 Annual Science Report

Michigan State University Reporting  |  JUL 2002 – JUN 2003

Executive Summary

Low temperature is a predominant environmental characteristic of interstellar space, asteroids, meteors and of course, our solar system, including most of the planets and their satellites. An understanding of the impacts that low temperature has on the responses and evolution of biological organisms is, therefore, integral to our knowledge of Astrobiology. Toward this end, we are exploring multiple aspects of microbial adaptation to low temperature. One line of investigation — Genomic and Proteomic Analysis of Permafrost Bacteria — is to conduct genomic and proteomic analyses of bacteria that have been isolated from the Arctic and Antarctic permafrost. Our basic objectives include identifying genes and proteins that enable permafrost bacteria to inhabit subfreezing environments and determining how genome expression in the permafrost bacteria is affected by low temperature and other environmental conditions associated with the permafrost. We are also interested in conditions that “hitchhiker” bacteria might ...

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