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Mob Genet Elements. 2012 Nov 1;2(6):272-278.

Man and his spaceships: Vehicles for extraterrestrial colonization?

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Department of Statistics; Rice University; Houston, TX USA.


The resiliency and adaptive ability of microbial life in real time on Earth relies heavily upon horizontal gene transfer. Based on that knowledge, how likely is earth based microbial life to colonize extraterrestrial targets such as Mars? To address this question, we consider manned and unmanned space exploration, the resident microbiota that is likely to inhabit those vehicles, the adaptive potential of that microbiota in an extraterrestrial setting especially with regards to mobile genetic elements, and the likelihood that Mars like environments could initiate and sustain colonization.


Gaia theory; HGT; Mars; forward contamination; horizontal gene transfer; manned space flight; microbiome; mobile genetic elements

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