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Re: Alien bacteria

David wrote:

>I was assuming something along the lines of crew members
>being infected with some sort of spreading disease which
>the other crew members contract, eventually killing the
>entire crew.  Meanwhile, some crew member happened to
>have been carrying some kind of Earth bacteria which
>winds up thriving quite well on the new planet, multiplies
>quickly, and a few decades later (after our crew is long
>dead) is decimating the planet.

OK, but you remember, we have many bacteria on and in our body, most of them
are necessary to life and without them we would be die very soon.
So if we explore alien life we would be best of to use remote controlled
robots to get the data we want. I only wonder if we can keep containment
levels high enough so that no single cell is exchanged.

What I've been thinking about, how would military be interested in these
deadly lifeforms? Would they want them, or do they already have enough
home-made ones?

>Yes - Kelly just pointed this out to me, too.  Biology and
>chemistry are not my strong points.  But I assume there are
>still possibilities that would make even their bacteria
>incompatible with our biology (i.e. using different
>protiens that we do)

Yes, I noticed it but then my letter was already posted, that's what happens
when one has a pop-mail account and doesn't send a letter as soon as it is

>It's not my strong point, but didn't I read somewhere
>once that while a lot of the proteins, etc. we live on,
>while they can be either L- or R- versions (left handed
>or right handed), are all mainly L-?  I think I read a
>short story where someone went through a strange experiment
>and came out with an R- based system, and no one knew it.
>He was slowly starving to death because his system couldn't
>use anything he ate.  Or am I barking up the wrong tree

In case no one else knows, I can confirm this idea. Although I wonder if
some-one indeed can be "infected" by this disease, the molecules of a
certain hand are indeed often not interchangable in chemical reactions. So
if the L-bacteria find R-molecules they can't use it (eg. for extracting
But I think others who know a bit more about biochemistry will know much
more about this.


P.S. Something went wrong while sending this message, so you may have
received it twice, sorry.