Evolving Microbes

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Scientists Hope Microbes Found In Extreme Environments Can Yield Lifesaving Drugs.

Chemical & Engineering News (5/5, Arnold) reports that scientists are conducting research on microbes found in extreme environments like Superfund sites with the hope that they can help in the fight “against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and diseases like cancer.” The idea is that the potent chemicals that the organisms produce to stay alive under such harsh conditions “might also keep humans alive when facing harsh maladies like cancer.” Barry O’Keefe, chief of the Natural Products Branch at the National Cancer Institute, said, “Microbial diversity is largely untapped. These new structures can inspire new syntheses. It pushes biology forward and it pushes chemistry forward.”

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