Space Microbiome? Yes Please!

and I'll take a minION sequencer as well if you don't mind.

Aug 30, 2016

NASA have successfully sequenced mouse, bacteria and virus DNA in microgravity onboard the International Space Stations (ISS). This is very exciting and hopefully means we can expect to see more sequencing experiments coming from space station in the future. There are lots of exciting things to look at such as the DNA expression of the astronaughts themselves but at the top of NASA's list is the microbiome of the ISS.

Not surprisingly, the ISS is teeming with microbial life but no in-depth study has been done. The success of this new experiment coupled with the minION sequencer now onboard means that we can start to ask some probing questions about the microbial life that is thriving in this extraterrestrial environment - without having to send samples back to earth.

The is fascinating news and NASA believes that if they can carry out DNA sequencing on the ISS, then they will also be able to do it on asteroids and on planets like Mars.

Nasa Article

PHOTO: NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins with the MinION sequencing device. Credits: NASA

Ben Libberton

Science Communicator, Freelance

I'm a freelance science communicator, formerly a Postdoc in the biofilm field. I'm interested in how bacteria cause disease and look to technology to produce novel tools to study and ultimately prevent infection.


Joe Bennett almost 3 years ago

Thanks Ben - nice story. And quite possibly of interest to the npj Microgravity Community, which is worth visiting for anyone who thinks science is cooler when it is done in space...

Ben Libberton almost 3 years ago

I think most of my experiments would be cooler in space. Those bench fees though!