People have been hunting down the legendary fountain of youth since antiquity. Does it exist? Could it ever, even theoretically, exist? A Russian scientist named Dr. Anatoli Brouchkov believes it’s out there, and he thinks he found it in 3.5-million-year-old bacteria. So what does Dr. Brouchkov do next? Inject himself with it, of course.
Dr. Brouchkov first discovered this ancient bacteria, Bacillus F, in 2009, frozen deep in the permafrost on a mountain in Siberia’s Yakutsk region. Like, even deeper in the permafrost than woolly mammoth remains. Dr. Brouchkov estimated it was 3.5 million years old, and he was immediately impressed with it. Despite its advanced age, it was still alive.
Crops exposed to Bacillus F grow faster and are more resistant to frost. The people in the Yakutia region even live longer than average — perhaps because Bacillus F has infiltrated their water supply.
Clearly, Bacillus F knows life hacks humans don’t. It’s still a relatively new discovery, though, which means scientists don’t understand what mechanism, exactly, makes it so hardy. So far, Dr. Brouchkov and his colleagues have sequenced the bacteria’s DNA but they have yet to figure out which of its genes make it so death-proof.