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Microbe's survival manual

Researchers uncover how D. radiodurans can withstand extreme radiation

5:11pm, September 3, 2010

Researchers have discovered how a microbe that can withstand sizzling doses of radiation builds its protective shield. Small complexes of manganese and other substances slurp up dangerous chemicals caused by radiation, protecting Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria from radiation’s ill effects, a study appearing September 3 in PLoS ONE shows.

What’s more, these shield components can be co-opted by E. coli and human blood cells, turning these normally sensitive cells into radiation-resistant supercells, says study coauthor Michael Daly of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

D. radiod

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