In one of the 1995 issues of "Science"
an article was published stating that 25 million bacteria residing
in the stomach of a bee in Dominican Amber was revived. According
to Dr. Raul Cano, a microbiologist at Cal Poly, the genus of bacteria,
Bacillus, is an ancient bacteria that is known to form endospores.
The spores are protected from the effects of heat, radiation,
pressure and environmental contamination by a thick, protective
protein coat. Bacteria can remain in this dehydrated cryptobiotic
state for millions of years. These Bacteria form a symbiotic relationship
with the bee in that they reside in the bee, the bacteria aid
in metabolic processes within the bee. When facing starvation,
the bacteria undergo transformation to spore form.
In this same article it states that Dr.
Cano is now working a company to try and develop useful diagnostic
and therapeutic applications for ancient bacteria. The discovery
of such ancient organisms could also yield significant new information
on the evolution of bacteria.