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Capable of withstanding doses of radiation ten thousand times the strength of that which would kill a human, Deinococcus radiodurans is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's toughest bacterium. First isolated in the 1950's in cans of meat which had spoiled despite being irradiated, D. radiodurans has been found living everywhere from Antarctica to the inside of nuclear reactors. This bacterium has lent fire to the theory that life first came to the Earth aboard meteors, as only a bacterium that can withstand interstellar radiation could survive such a trip. D. radiodurans has also given hope to scientists interested in creating bacteria capable of degrading nuclear waste, part of the process of bioremediation.

Partial credit to:
Kids Discover, vol. 10 issue 10
Science News Online, www.sciencenews.org

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