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2004 Annual Science Report

Michigan State University Reporting  |  JUL 2003 – JUN 2004

Executive Summary

Low temperature is a predominant environmental characteristic of interstellar space, asteroids, comets, 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. The basic objectives of one line of investigation—Genomic and Proteomic Analysis of Permafrost Bacteria—include identifying genes and proteins that enable Arctic and Antarctic permafrost bacteria to inhabit subfreezing environments and determining how gene 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 encounter during travel through space on natural objects or spacecraft. In a second line of investigation—Bacterial Adaptation to Low ... Continue reading.

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