Bacterial Physicists and Chemists
“Moreover he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”
Some types of bacteria are able to go into a state of suspended animation when living conditions become too harsh. Not only do they change their form and appearance, they are amazingly able to change their DNA structure to avoid damage from harmful types of light!
Like other living things, bacteria need the right temperatures, the right amount of moisture, and other conditions that support life. When conditions change, bacteria are too tiny to move to better conditions. However, they can sporulate. When living conditions become too harsh, some bacteria encase themselves into a tough coating of protein and enter a state of suspended animation. As spores, bacteria can rest in bone-dry soil for up to 60 years, waiting for rain.
Ultraviolet radiation poses another danger to bacteria. This light damages a bacterium’s DNA at a point where two thymine molecules sit next to each other. The light strikes the molecules and twists them. The result can be fatal to bacteria. So when a bacterium begins to go into spore form, it produces a protein that slightly and harmlessly changes the shape of these two thymine molecules so that they are not affected by ultraviolet light.
The entire process by which bacteria go into spore form reflects a sophisticated knowledge of both biochemistry and physics. Even in the lowly bacteria, our Creator has made it clear that He and He alone deserves the credit for the creation in which we live!
Prayer: Dear Lord, the astonishing care with which You made even bacteria assures me that there is nothing in Your creation that You do not care about. Assure me constantly of Your presence and love in my life. Amen.
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Ref: Weiss, R. 1991. “New light on bacterial DNA protection.” Science News, v. 139, Jan. 12. p. 21. Photo: Dry soil – Pixabay.com
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