Society News Archive

1 December 1999

U.S. Department of Energy-funded researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research describe the complete genetic sequence of "the world's most radiation-resistant organism" in the November 19 issue of Science.

The organism is a strain of pink bacteria that can survive 1.5 million rad of gamma radiation. This dose shreds the bacteria's genome into hundreds of pieces. The organism's ability to repair this DNA damage completely in a day and go on living offers researchers clues to better understanding the mechanism of cellular repair.

More information on this research is described by Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson at