One lab accidentally developed a species of bacteria which doesn't naturally die, but multiplies at usual rate. (And the scientists didn't notice in time, so the bacteria escaped).
EDIT after AlexP's comments: By doesn't naturally die I mean 'a bacterium multiplies as usual, but both daughters survive to multiply as well with very high probability'.
- It's harmless to humans/animals/plants or at least in quantities compared to usual infectious bacteria species.
- It doesn't naturally mutate (even in thousands of generations), so the species can't loose its immortality in time.
- It still can die in extreme conditions like t>100C, high UV radiation, strong acids etc. But it's more resilent than most bacteria. (EDIT: maybe even more resilent than that, if this is what the idea needs to work at all, i.e. resilent enough that accidental death in natural conditions is improbable).
- It needs the appropriate amount of food and water to multiply. If there's no food it enters kind of a 'sleeping' state and can be awakened again once introduced to a necessary conditions. The same with cold down to freezing temperatures.
Could such bacteria cause an apocalypse or at least a world scale destruction / civilization collaple? Is it also plausible to prevent such a disaster at intermediate stage?
I think the particular questions that need to be answered here are:
- How fast will this bacteria spread out?
- What kinds of destruction will the cause in small, medium or large quantities?