Volcano Bacteria Doing DNA Tests
This ol' world just keeps getting more interesting:
A bacterium found in a volcanic vent in the side of Antarctica's Mount Erebus has been developed by New Zealand scientists to speed up forensic DNA testing.
The organism - which uses an enzyme to protect and repair its own DNA - has been incorporated in new DNA extraction products to be launched on the world market next week.
Zygem Corp - a bio-reagents company largely put together by scientists at Waikato University's thermophile unit, and other researchers - will unveil a suite of products based on the initial discovery by Auckland University microbiologist Dr David Saul from a sample of bacteria taken from Mt Erebus in 1980.
It has been commercialised by scientists from Auckland and Waikato universities, and Sydney's Macquarie University.
Zygem's chief executive, Adrian Hodgson, will outline the firm's plans to take its new products global before an Auckland audience including Prime Minister Helen Clark on Thursday.
The centrepiece of the company's showcase will be a procedure to speed up DNA identification of samples left at crime scenes, such as hair, blood, skin and saliva. At present DNA has to be extracted from the samples before it is degraded by cellular proteins.