This NASA satellite image shows a low-pressure weather system over the Middle East on the morning of March 26, 2003. | NASA/Getty Images

Viruses and Bacteria Travel Along a High-Altitude Superhighway

A new theory explains how the very same microbes exist on every continent, even when suitable hosts are nowhere to be found.

Published On 02/12/2018
5:04 PM EST
I I f you asked three people living in wildly different locations — on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico, on a wheat farm in the Russian steppes, or a high-rise apartment in Shanghai — to leave a slice of bread outside for a few days, something remarkable would happen. The very same army of microbes would slowly colonize the bread, never mind that nothing else about the three environments is remotely the same.