Thursday, 24 May 2012

Immortality in Biology

The miracle of immortality once only occurs in our imagination, since it is evident that immortality does not prevail in reality (1). However, as the advancement in Biology, Vreeland, Rosenzweig & Powers (2) discovered that there are a number of organisms on the Earth which reveal some of the characteristics of immortality. The above finding is very helpful in understanding the ancient lives on the Earth. This essay will discuss the study conducted by Vreeland et al. (2) in New Mexico which provided evidence of living samples from the ancient time.

In one of the waste isolation pilot plants, a number of samples of crystallized salt were collected for the study (2). Among all the crystals, only the one without cracks were select for this experiment. It is also very important to ensure that the samples were not contaminated by the environment. Apart from choosing the crystals carefully, mediums were also applied to confirm the laboratory was free of micro-organisms (2). All the above precautious was to warrant a more accurate result from the experiment. After all the preparation and sterilisation, the brine from the crystals was extracted and transferred in the mediums to test whether they could breed and show any signs of life forms in the brine solution. During the breeding process of the micro-organisms, all the brine solution which exhibited any signs of contamination will be rejected (2).

The results showed that as nutrients were supplied to the brine solutions, some signs of the growth of micro-organisms were evident in the mediums. Since the laboratory was confirmed as free of micro-organisms, there is a high probability that the growth of the micro-organism was originated from the salt crystals (2). In other words, the living organisms inside the crystals 250 million years ago were ‘reborn’. Vreeland et al. (2) concluded that the micro-organisms were trapped inside the salt crystals due to the evaporation of sea water and were isolated from the environment. This explains the reasons why the growth of the micro-organisms was ceased (2). The above experiment attempted to ‘free’ the micro-organisms from the salt crystals and investigate whether the micro-organisms would show any signs of growing under the appropriate conditions. The results concluded that the micro-organisms appear to be able to continue breeding with adequate nutrients in a suitable environment (2). Hence, it is suggested that immortality of micro-organism could exist in the real world (1).

To sum up, the findings of Vreeland et al. (2) study provided scientists with important information about the ancient life on the Earth. The use of well-preserved salt crystals in this experiment assisted in the discovery of the possibility of ‘waking up’ micro-organisms under the appropriate conditions after millions of years (2). Immortality in the Biology world could advance the understanding of the beginning of life on the Earth (1).

1.    Knight, J 2001, ‘The immortal’, New Scientist, 28 April, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.

2.    Vreeland, RH, Rosenzweig, WD & Powers, DW 2000, ‘Isolation of a 250 million-year-old halotolerant bacterium from a primary salt crystal’, Nature, vol. 407, pp. 897-900, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.

1 comment:

  1. yes I agree with you human immortality does not prevail in relality but it is possible to live much longer without getting sick as a result we can have much more years to live. Death is inevitable. We will get to a point where people can decide how long one want live. There’s a lot of intresting activity going around such as exchanging body organs, rejuvenating cells. Other than that nanotechnology plays an important role. It eliminates a single cancer cell in the body before it start replicating.