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Thread: Life As We Don't Know It

  1. #1
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    Life As We Don't Know It

    If this is legit, this was "engineered"--for better or worse:

    Alan Boyle writes:NASA's secret is finally out: Researchers say they've forced microbes from a gnarly California lake to become arsenic-gobbling aliens. It may not be as thrilling as discovering life on Titan, but the claim is so radical that some chemists aren't yet ready to believe it.

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news...ow-it-on-earth

  2. #2
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    Scientists have discovered a form of bacteria that can thrive on arsenic -- an element generally considered toxic -- dramatically expanding both traditional notions of how life is sustained and the range of where it might be found in the universe, NASA funded-researchers said Thursday. "Life as we know it requires particular chemical elements and excludes others," Arizona State University researcher Ariel Anbar said in a news release. "But are those the only options? How different could life be?"


    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/02/nas...ex.html?hpt=T1

    Actually the bacteria incorporates the arsenic into its DNA, this is the most startling part. This will alter what we have perceived as 'means for life'.

  3. #3
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    I told my housemates about this and they were like "so?" :o

    Personally, I think this is amazing. It just goes to show how much we don't know about life, which is a pretty thrilling thought in the 21st century when it sometimes seems we know all there is to know.

    I can understand the skepticism though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruinn View Post
    I told my housemates about this and they were like "so?" :o

    Personally, I think this is amazing. It just goes to show how much we don't know about life, which is a pretty thrilling thought in the 21st century when it sometimes seems we know all there is to know.

    I can understand the skepticism though.
    Yeah, anytime something like this comes out a lot of care is needed to be sure.

  5. #5
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    "This organism has dual capability," Davies said in today's announcement. "It can grow with either phosphorus or arsenic. That makes it very peculiar, though it falls short of being some form of truly 'alien' life belonging to a different tree of life with a separate origin. However, GFAJ-1 may be a pointer to even weirder organisms. The holy grail would be a microbe that contained no phosphorus at all."
    Having a dual capability suggests a mutation if the organisms also pass the dual capability to its offspring. however, a mutation merely demonstrates that life finds a way to live.

    Finding a creature that exists on arsenic alone would be big news, not these little guys. Though its nice to know that we have even a dual capable lifeform that can process arsenic, there are some decent cleanup applications ahead for the little critters.
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  6. #6
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    I wonder if arsenic is all they can adapt to.

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