The Subterranean Genome of the Devil Worm
Professor John R. Bracht
Department of Biology (CAS)
Abstract: The subterranean worm H. mephisto, was first discovered in a gold mine in South Africa, living nearly a mile underground in water-filled cracks in the earth’s crust. Completely isolated from the terrestrial biosphere, this organism has managed to survive, and thrive, under conditions that had been considered lethal to complex life. In this talk I will present recent data from whole-genome sequencing and analysis, and discuss how this finding sheds light on adaptive change in evolution, the limits of complex life on earth, and even on the search for life on other planets.
This talk will be geared toward a non-specialist audience.