Surviving Extreme Heat: The Global Network of Microbial Life

Examining microbes in distant hot springs, scientists have uncovered evolutionary insights. These researchers identified similar microbial adaptations in hot springs spanning the United States, Iceland, and Japan, shedding light on the evolution of life and its potential applications in biotechnology. Conducted by scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), this groundbreaking study ventured to hot springs on three continents, all featuring water temperatures exceeding 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite the unique geological and chemical characteristics of these environments, the study revealed surprising similarities among microbes separated by thousands of miles. According to Mircea Podar, co-lead of the study alongside researchers from Montana State University, these findings suggest that tectonic conditions and geological factors play a significant role, offering fresh insights into the co-evolution of life and our planet. The results of this research were recently published in the journal Environmental Microbiology under the title “Tectonic and geological setting influence hot spring microbiology” (DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.16472; Published: 8 August 2023).

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