The Invisible Emperors: The Benefits Of Bacteria

1119 words - 4 pages


The Invisible Emperors talked about some of the misconceptions and new findings about bacteria. It first talked about how we always think that bacteria is bad for us, and how we relate it to sickness. Following this, it mentions how scientists have new tools that allow them to see the DNA of micro-organisms, and how this could someday be a cure for cancer. Among other things, like replicating DNA using bacteria, they mention how it is becoming a very vast and almost limitless field.

Following some statistical facts, they talk about how they can now take the DNA and figure out what microbial produced it. This lead into some of the benefits of bacteria, such as decomposing garbage and producing oxygen. Later it talked, and had a graphic, about individual bacterias that offer benefits to humans. It goes into how microbes are constantly attacked by humans by using products such as soap, anti-bacterial rinses, cat litter, etc. Then it concludes that section of the article saying that by killing off so many bacteria, both good and bad, it could upset the balance of nature, not only resulting in direct harm to us, but allowing other bacteria to become dangerous.

The second part of the article talks about how other scientists are excited to find out about extremophiles. It starts out with some history about how Carl Woese determined there is not two, but three domains of life, and how now, only recently, have scientists widely accepted his idea. Then it goes on to tell us about how these extremophiles are highly specialized for extreme conditions, and what some of these conditions are with the name they classify them as, depending on their environment. They continue with how these extremophiles may help us understand cancer and other diseases. It gives an example about how in the 1980s, scientists found a microbe that had a heat-resistant enzyme that allowed biotechnologist to replicate DNA, which has formed a billion-dolor industrial.

It continues on to tell about how extreme environments that were once considered impossible to live in, may now be where the first life formed, and that something similar may be happening on other planets, in fact, Thomas Gold mentions how he thinks that although surface conditions on other planets may not be life-sustaining, sub-surfaces may be the “norm”. It mentions some tests that NASA is conducting. It also mentions some Antarctic drilling the Russian’s plan to carry out. It concludes this article saying that a person could spend their entire lifetime figuring out all about the lifeforms surrounding the trunk of any single tree.

When I first read on our weekly agenda, the title, The Invisible Emperors, I figured it was going to most-likely be something about germs or something related to them. I figured the article would most-likely be about how bacteria and other germs are everywhere and very dangerous, so I was surprised to read that it was about the benefits of microbes.

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