Apparently Nanobiosym, a biotech company in the area, has decided to send MRSA up to the ISS on a spacex rocket. This is headline-grabbing stuff. From the NASA page:
Proof-of-Concept for Gene-RADAR® Predictive Pathogen Mutation Study (Nanobiosym Genes) evaluates the feasibility of one day using this device from Nanobiosym® to identify bacterial mutations in space. The X Prize-winning device can accurately detect any disease that has a genetic fingerprint, in real time and at the point-of-care. Microgravity may accelerate the rate of bacterial mutations and this pilot investigation analyzes this process in two strains aboard the International Space Station, which may provide insight into how deadly bacteria become drug-resistant.
Seriously, what????? $20 to anyone who can provide a reasonable and nontrivial explanation (e.g. not like, the cultures were less aerated in space because they weren't on a shaker) for why microgravity would accelerate the rate of bacterial mutations.
From a Salon.com article, Anita Goel (founder of Nanobiosym) is quoted as saying “[Low Earth Orbit] acts as an incubator to accelerate the mutations that happen with some bacteria and viruses”.
That makes no sense at all to me. Can anyone explain?