Jurassic Park in a Petri Dish...uh oh!
A 500 million-year-old bacteria has been brought back to life in a laboratory at Georgia Tech in an experiment with echoes of Jurassic Park's disastrous recreation of the dinosaurs.
The researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene and inserted it into a modern E Coli bacteria.
The 'Frankenstein' germ has thrived. In the lab, the creation has now lived through 1,000 generations.
The scientists hope to find out whether the 'ancient' bacteria will evolve the same way it did 'first time round' - or whether it will evolve into a different, new organism.
‘This is as close as we can get to rewinding and replaying the molecular tape of life,’ said scientist Betül Kaçar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech.
The new 'chimeric' bacteria has mutated rapidly - and some have become stronger and healthier than today's germs.
‘The ability to observe an ancient gene in a modern organism as it evolves within a modern cell allows us to see whether the evolutionary trajectory once taken will repeat itself or whether a life will adapt following a different path.’
‘The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,’ said Gaucher, ‘and this created a perfect scenario that would allow the altered organism to adapt and become more fit as it accumulated mutations with each passing day.’
The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted.
Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.
When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations.
Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness.
In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.
These results were presented at the recent NASA International Astrobiology Science Conference. The scientists will continue to study new generations, waiting to see if the protein will follow its historical path or whether it will adopt via a novel path altogether.
‘We think that this process will allow us to address several longstanding questions in evolutionary and molecular biology,’ said Kaçar.
‘Among them, we want to know if an organism’s history limits its future and if evolution always leads to a single, defined point or whether evolution has multiple solutions to a given problem.’ - dailymail
Papua New Guinea Alleged Cannibals Charged
Authorities have arrested 29 people accused of being part of a cannibal cult in Papua New Guinea's jungle interior and charged them with the murders of seven suspected witch doctors, police said Friday.
Madang Police Commander Anthony Wagambie confirmed a report in The National newspaper that said the cult members allegedly ate their victims' brains raw and made soup from their penises.
"They don't think they've done anything wrong; they admit what they've done openly," Wagambie told The Associated Press by telephone.
He said the killers believed that their victims practiced "sanguma," or sorcery, and that they had been extorting money as well as demanding sex from poor villagers for their supernatural services.
By eating witch doctors' organs, the cult members believed they would attain supernatural powers and literally become bullet-proof, he said.
"It's prevalent cult activity," Wagambie said. He said he believes there could be between 700 and 1,000 cult members in several villages in Papua New Guinea's remote northeast interior. All of them might have eaten human flesh, he said.
According to the report in The National, which is published in Papua New Guinea, 28 men and women appeared in a Madang court on Tuesday. Wagambie said they were charged with willful murder.
It was not clear what happened to the 29th suspect. Murder is punishable by death in Papua New Guinea, a poor South Pacific island nation.
Wagambie said the suspects were not required to plea to the murder charges and were being held in custody.
Police will gather more witness statements before pressing charges related to the cannibalism allegations, he said.
Cannibalism was part of traditional culture in Papua New Guinea, where human flesh was known as "long pig," and survived in isolated pockets into the latter part of the 20th century while the country was under Australian colonial rule.
Wagambie, 36, said he had never heard of a previous case of cannibalism in his lifetime.
He expected police would make around 100 arrests over the weekend for cult-related crimes.
Four of the seven victims were murdered last week, Wagambie said, adding that no remains had been recovered.
"They're probably all eaten up," he said. - THP
Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
Eat Thy Neighbour: A History of Cannibalism
Cannibalism: From Sacrifice to Survival
Five highlights from the newly released MoD UFO files
UK’s National Archives published 6,785 pages on Thursday, July 12 from Ministry of Defence documents related to UFOs and extraterrestrials. This latest release is the ninth batch of UFO files to be released by the archives since 2008. Former Ministry of Defence (MoD) official UFO investigator Nick Pope told the Telegraph that this latest batch of released files is “absolutely fascinating” and it “contains a huge mixture of material that will be of great interest to anyone fascinated with UFOs.”
Twenty-five files make up these 6,785 pages, and the National Archives explains, “Topics include UFO policy, Parliamentary Questions, media issues, public correspondence, and UFO sighting reports.” The files include many interesting UFO sightings submitted to the MoD–some by pilots, police, and military officials. In case you don’t have the time or desire to read through 6,785 pages of documents, here are five highlights from the latest release:
MoD’s UFO Desk.
This latest release of files includes information about the Ministry of Defence’s “UFO desk.” Although many media outlets are reacting like this is the first mention of this post within the MoD, the UFO desk has been public knowledge for quite some time. Nick Pope, who is quoted in nearly every article related to UFOs in the UK, ran the MoD’s UFO desk from 1991 to 1994. However, the recently released information related to the UFO desk is mildly interesting. Documents detail the duties of the UFO desk officer, and the actual internal job posting for the position is in the files as well.
The need for a full UFO study.
A document contains a 1995 briefing by a UFO desk officer who cited the need for a “full study of UFO data as national security implications have never been properly assessed.” The officer states in the briefing, “The national security implications are considerable. We have many reports of strange objects in the skies and we have never investigated them.”
MoD officer suggests capturing a UFO to gain its technology.
In the briefing document mentioned above, this same UFO desk officer suggests capturing UFO technology for UK use. The officer states, “If reports are taken at face value then devices exist that do not use conventional reaction propulsion systems, they have a very wide range of speeds and are stealthy. I suggest that we could use this technology, if it exists.”
Keeping tabs on ufologists.
The files contain a copy of a 1996 Parliamentary Question from Martin Redmond MP asking if MI6 and GCHQ monitors UFO investigations, or keeps tabs on ufologists. The National Archives summarizes the response contained in the files, explaining that a background briefing says “neither agency in fact undertakes such activity, though GCHQ cannot rule out the possibility” they had monitored “in other contexts individuals who have made a study of UFOs.”
Tony Blair’s UFO briefing.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair was briefed on UFO documents. As the Metro explains, the MoD documents show “the former Labour leader was apparently concerned about information on the unidentified objects being released to the public, as a result of the impending Freedom of Information Act, so decided to find out what facts existed.” This came after author and researcher Nick Redfern urged him to “consider making available for public scrutiny all of the many and varied UFO reports compiled by the government.”
A Covert Agenda: The British Government's UFO Top Secrets Exposed
UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry
The Rural Abduction Phenomena
As I've mentioned in these pages before, I have a buddy who lived in the small town that Travis Walton lived (or still lives for all I know) in Arizona (Snowflake) - he knew TW to be a truthful person and his story to be real in his opinion. That is good enough for me concerning his case.
But as you know, the `rural' `alien abduction' involving crafts is not totally uncommon in UFOlogy but is indeed pretty rare. Especially with witnesses or even having any memory of the event when a Missing Time event occurs. And, all that is a lead up to a report sent to UDCC by Ken Pfeifer from the MUFON files - for me, the `twist' in this story is that the boys were YOUNG and UNLESS they were doing EXACTLY what he purports they were doing - would have been SEARCHED for by parents - based on his description of the event.
Could the aliens have KNOWN they wouldn't be searched for? Did the boys ask any adults if they had seen this? And of course, is this tale true or just a big fabrication? Continue reading at The Rural Abduction Phenomena
Messages: The World's Most Documented Extraterrestrial Contact Story
Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of Ufo Abductions
Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens