The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Are bacteria immortal?  (Read 5297 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 447
  • I before E except after C, unless weird science
    • View Profile
Are bacteria immortal?
« on: 07/11/2009 05:42:22 »
When a bacteria undergoes reproduction it splits itself in two. Literally cloning itself. If I watch this process how can I tell which bacteria is the parent and which the offspring? If they are basically identical couldn't I simply pick one at random and call it the parent and the other the offspring. After a while both of these bacteria will split producing a brother/sister to the first offspring and a grandchild in the offspring of the offspring.

  If I somehow stain the original parent how long can I expect it to survive? I've heard that some types of bacteria that live deep under ground and lead very slow unexciting anaerobic lives, living off the energy of radioactive elements may live hundreds of years. Is this possible? And considering these deep level bacteria have only recently been discovered how do we know individuals are so long lived? Also how do they protect their DNA from damage from the radioactivity?


 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Are bacteria immortal?
« Reply #1 on: 07/11/2009 09:10:46 »
If a single cell organism reproduces by division alone, then, the way I see it, each cell resulting from the division is a continuation of the original cell. When these cells divide they are a continuation of the cells they divided from and thus a continuation of the original cell. And when these cells divide........... Well I think you probably get my gist.

Even if, during a division, something goes wrong, resulting in two cell which differ from each other (mutants) and the 'parent' cell, they are still the ultimate (to date) incarnation of the original cell. So the question is, has that original cell 'died'? Surely the answer must be 'No'.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 447
  • I before E except after C, unless weird science
    • View Profile
Are bacteria immortal?
« Reply #2 on: 07/11/2009 10:54:11 »
I saw a very good episode of Star Trek TNG In which Data, Worf, Commander Riker, and I think Gordy beam down to a planet that Riker barely escaped 8 years earlier. The planet's atmosphere only offers the opportunity to beam up or down every 8 years. While retreaving data (information data, not the android) the are met by a man who's been stranded on the station for 8 years. Lt. Riker!!!!

Turns out that due to a transporter accident Riker was duplicated. Now here's an interesting problem. I know the Federation didn't use money, Riker wasn't married, had no kids, owned little but we'll pretend they do here.  Let's suppose Riker got a weekly paycheck, had been married for 14 years and had 4 kids, 12, 10, 8, and 7. Now which Riker is father to the children? Obviously the youngest was fathered after the duplication and possibly the 8 year old (suppose he was born 9 months to the day after the duplication). Which Riker is married to his wife. Is Lt. Riker owed back pay by Star Fleet? As far as Star Fleet is concerned they have already paid him. How will the kids react to now having two dads?
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8134
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Are bacteria immortal?
« Reply #3 on: 07/11/2009 15:45:44 »
Quote
QotW - 08.07.20 - Are any organisms immortal?
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=15905.0
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Are bacteria immortal?
« Reply #3 on: 07/11/2009 15:45:44 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums