https://www.nature.com/articles/s41526-017-0020-1

 

Bacteria grown for an extended period of time under simulated microgravity adopt growth advantages. George Fox and colleagues from the University of Houston, Texas, USA, cultured Escherichia coli bacteria for 1000 generations in a high aspect rotating vessel to simulate the low fluid shear microgravity environment encountered during spaceflight. They then performed growth competition assays and found that the 1000-generation adapted bacteria outcompeted control bacteria grown without simulated microgravity. Genomic sequencing of the adapted bacteria revealed 16 mutations, five of which altered protein sequences. These DNA changes likely explain the growth advantage of the bacteria grown for multiple generations in simulated microgravity. Similar adaptations during prolonged space missions could result in nastier pathogens that might threaten the health of astronauts. Fortunately, the microbes did not appear to acquire antibiotic resistance over the 1000 generation in the modeled microgravity culture.

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