A New Species Of Chlamydia Is Chilling Out In The Arctic
We all know chlamydia as the sexually transmitted disease that is the hardest to spell, which in turn makes it the 4th hardest STD to admit you may have given to an ex. Scientists, however, know that it's really a whole group of bacteria known as chlamydiae, which is the most annoying plural form that word could possibly have. For example, the strain affecting koalas is different from the version that humans get -- although, humans can apparently accidentally catch the koala version. So although it has a cure, it's a messy disease, is what we're saying.
Imagine the surprise of a group of researchers who were collecting sediment samples up in the Arctic Ocean when they found chlamydia just absolutely thriving in there. They were in a place called Loki's Castle, which is a series of underwater hydrothermal vents near the sea floor and exactly where a trickster god would hide a new strain of STD. The thing with chlamydia is that it normally requires some type of host, but down there in Loki's Castle, it seems to be happy on its own, despite the lack of oxygen and all the enormous pressures of the ocean. It may even play a vital role in that particular ecosystem.
The researchers estimate that there could be up to 100 new "species" (which is harder to define than we all might suspect) in their samples, they're gonna need some time to look. 51 of their 68 samples contained some type of chlamydia, which is pretty insane given the environment. Even weirder, however, is that the researchers haven't been able to grow the bacteria in a lab setting. Apparently recreating the exact environmental settings of the ocean floor is hard to do above ground. Hopefully this gives researchers some new insights as to how bacteria learns to live in such harsh conditions, and even how it gets transmitted to humans and other organisms in the first place. Whatever gets us on track to saving those koalas, man.