(Astronomy) Wherever humans go, our bacterial companions will follow. That’s as true in space as it is on Earth, and while we’ve known that microbial astronauts are present on the International Space Station, one group of researchers has just found a new reason to worry about them.
A genomic analysis of samples collected from the space toilet aboard the station, among other places, has revealed that some of the bacteria on the ISS possess genes conferring resistance to antibiotics. There’s no danger to astronauts at the moment, say the researchers, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but it is a reminder that bacteria could be a threat in the confined environment of a space station.
In this new study, researchers characterized the genomes of these species in detail and compared their genomes to the genomes of 1,291 Enterobacter strains from Earth. And, by studying the bacteria’s genetic makeup, they were able to see that the bacteria would likely be resistant to antibacterial drugs.
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