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Nasa Finds New Life - On Planet earth

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posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 12:18 PM
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The difference between this and the BBC story you linked is that the BBC story only points out that it consumes arsenic; the current findings are that in fact it is composed of arsenic. In place of one of the key chemicals of all life that we're familiar with is this chemical. It's similar to, but smaller than, finding life with no carbon element but silicon where the carbon usually is.

This is what I've been saying forever -- we aren't necessarily going to recognize all the alien life. There's probably life out there that doesn't resemble us in the least, and we need to be aware of that, and try to figure out what else we should or could be looking for.




posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 12:18 PM
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Here's a couple more interesting links on this:


from Discover Blog "Not Exactly Rocket Science":
Nor do the bacteria belong to a second branch of life on Earth – the so-called “shadow biosphere” that Wolfe-Simon talked about a year ago. When she studied the genes of these arsenic-lovers, she found that they belong to a group called the Oceanospirillales. They are no stranger to difficult diets. Bacteria from the same order are munching away at the oil that was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. The arsenic-based bacteria aren’t a parallel branch of life; they’re very much part of the same tree that the rest of us belong too.

That doesn’t, however, make them any less extraordinary.



from Nature News:
Still, the discovery is "just phenomenal" if it holds up after further chemical analysis, Benner adds. "It means that many, many things are wrong in terms of how we view molecules in the biological system."

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In addition to questioning the long-held assumption that phosphate is absolutely required for life, the existence of the bacterium "provides an opportunity to really pick apart the function of phosphorous in different biological systems", notes Valentine. There may even be a way to use the arsenic-loving microbes to combat arsenic contamination in the environment, he adds.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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I don't understand all of you who don't think this is an amazing discovery! This is proof not only that we aren't the only thing that either was created or branched out to evolve on this planet (depending on your religious beliefs and whatnot), but that this opens the possibility for life existing in much different conditions than we ever thought. It means that there could be life out there in the universe in many more instances than we previously predicted. She just redefined the books. Our whole concept of life is being pushed out of the envelope right now, and I think we are lucky to be here to witness this movement forward in science.
edit on 12/2/2010 by SpaceJ because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by americandingbat
fro m Discover Blog "Not Exactly Rocket Science":

The arsenic-based bacteria aren’t a parallel branch of life; they’re very much part of the same tree that the rest of us belong too.
Interestingly, one panel member in today's announcement did think it's on the same tree of life, or at least is not yet convinced it's not on the same tree of life, but is open to running further experiments to prove or disprove that idea.

The claim to be tested, is "an extraordinary claim, which in the words of Sagan, requires extraordinary evidence to support it". So we have evidence to support the claim it's not life as we know it, but not extraordinary evidence yet. So that's what made today's announcement different than the 2008 article, the claim that it's "not life as we know it".

Apparently the jury is still out on that claim but I'm sure there will be more experiments run to settle the dispute.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 03:22 PM
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I saw a show a year ago 'Through the wormhole' that had a women on it doing this research and pointing out the fact that this was true. Did NASA buy her out or just blatantly steal her ideas?



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 

It's a gammaproteobacteria that has adopted to life at very low phosphorus concentration. It's very much in our tree of life. Its sugars in its DNA are still mostly connected via PO4 molecules. It's just that it can substitute positions with AsO4 (maybe GC-rich regions? maybe by deploying DNA ligases 24/7? don't know). Not shadow life, but still a little bit special

edit on 2-12-2010 by rhinoceros because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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Who said the life must be comprised of the same chemical bonds and pathways as us or mostly of the living organisms? This is proof right here that life will do anything to survive and use any chemical means to reproduce



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by AnteBellum
 


That was her (Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon from today's announcement) on Through the Wormhole, the episode was "How Did We Get Here?". I posted it on some of the other duplicate threads on this topic last night. I remember seeing that episode and I definitely thought she was onto something there, so I'm glad to see she reached one of her goals with that research so soon. Good for her! I'm never really on the whole feminist bandwagon, but it's always nice to see female scientists in on the action. I don't think NASA bought her out, even at the time of the Wormhole episode she was working with a "team" from NASA's Astrobiology program and some other affiliated university program.
edit on 12/2/2010 by SpaceJ because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 04:01 PM
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"NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today"

How can they say that, exactly? They know how alien DNA looks like? If so, how?
edit on 2-12-2010 by Esger because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by Esger
"NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today"

How can they say that, exactly? They know how alien DNA looks like? If so, how?
It's alien to known DNA because known DNA uses Phosphorus in the "spine" of the DNA, and the microbes CAN use arsenic in place of phosphorus. So the arsenic replacement allegedly makes it "alien" in one sense of that word.

The claim doesn't purport to know what any other alien DNA might look like.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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I've mentioned this in another thread...

I studied biology when I was in university over a dacade ago. One of the things we studied were extremophile organisms that can survive in enviroments that are instantly leathal to all other organisms.

One of the more interesting aspects involved the earliest forms of life...you know...the FIRST bacterias to evolve on this planet back in the days when the entire planet had an enviroment toxic to current life. The early Earth was similar to what Venus or Titan is now. Dense clouds, high pressure and temperature, acid rain (REAL acid) pretty much a nightmare.

I won't deny that releasing DNA results to indicate a different chemical organization is impressive, but I still do not see this as a major announcement.

A good story for the masses, but not really groundbreaking news.

ETA

Perhaps I just had progressive professors who were preparing us for this type of discovery (although most were involved with breeding fish to produce insulin).
edit on 2-12-2010 by [davinci] because: Form



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 04:19 PM
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Originally posted by rhinoceros
It's a gammaproteobacteria that has adopted to life at very low phosphorus concentration.
It started in low phosphorus but continued to grow in no phosphorous, which is what raises the question about whether it's life as we know it, life wasn't thought capable of doing that.

www.nasa.gov...


In the laboratory, the researchers successfully grew microbes from the lake on a diet that was very lean on phosphorus, but included generous helpings of arsenic. When researchers removed the phosphorus and replaced it with arsenic the microbes continued to grow.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 05:23 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 

Yes, it's the first organisms that can apparently (still disputed) replace P with As in DNA, RNA and bunch of other molecules. So in a way "new" kind of life. However it's very much related to "old" kind of life as interpreted from its ribosomal RNA coding DNA sequences. It's a novel adaption to life in low P environment, much like other novel adaptions that other extremophiles show to different environments. It's a little different thou, since this adaption deals with very fundamental aspects of life that was assumed identical to all life on Earth. I'm hoping that they'll sequence the entire genome of this bacteria soon, as it could prove to be very ancient (thou at the moment consensus is that proteobacteria are not an ancient group). However there's this guy Cavalier-Smith who's proposing that negibacteria (including proteobacteria) are universal ancestors of all life on Earth and thus the most ancient group. It's IMO more likely thou, that this is indeed an adaption and not a "relic".. eventually we'll discover that it's some protein that enables this organism to show this kind of behaviour..
edit on 2-12-2010 by rhinoceros because: more info



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 06:17 PM
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reply to post by FermiFlux
 


I agree man, this is a great find. Did people on here really think they were going to announce some type of life elsewhere? The only possible way to find that life is to actually go to that place, which we haven't really done yet. This just states how you don't necessarily need the building blocks that we previously thought we needed. This expands my mind even more, considering the billions of galaxies which hold all sorts of life, this gives us proof that there could be microbial life on a planet without the elements we thought we generally needed. Then I think of a planet like that, that is out there that may have had billions of years of evolution and begin to think of the type of creatures that could have evolved from those different types of elements. I was thinking about this a few weeks back as well. It's very interesting, and I can't wait until we are able to send out our technology to these other planets that we think are great "Starting" points, and can only imagine what we will begin to find. That's some time away though, considering it would take a decade or two or more to get there.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by OptimusPrimate
 


Tecnically theve found allready existing life on earth, The perception that its new comes from the point that they were to ignorant to Know it existed before now



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 08:20 PM
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Here's just a thought I would like to throw out there. The way NASA put out its press release, a lot of people thought the announcement was about finding extraterrestrials forms from another planet. Could it be that they did that on purpose to test the public's reaction? Did they want to test the water to see if the public would panic or become nervous if it was an announcement on finding out of this world extraterrestrials? Again, just a thought.



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 09:20 PM
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I think this clearly shows we have so much more yet or left
to discover right here on our own planet. Why do we know more about
whats in the outer realms of our known universe than we do of our own deep oceans? for example.
This is good news in my opinion, not the news many were hoping for however, but
still good.

edit on 12/2/2010 by CaptGizmo because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 11:26 PM
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Sure we didn't make them ourselves?


The researchers began to grow the bacteria in a laboratory on a diet of increasing levels of arsenic, finding to their surprise that the microbes eventually fully took up the element, even incorporating it into the phosphate groups that cling to the bacteria's DNA...

That probably means that the bacteria, while a striking first for science, are not a sign of a "second genesis" of life on Earth, adapted specifically to work best with arsenic in place of phosphorus. BBC News

Did the bacteria already use some arsenic in their DNA when they were scooped out of the lake, or were they persuaded to take it up later, in the lab?



edit on 2/12/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2010 @ 03:44 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Did the bacteria already use some arsenic in their DNA when they were scooped out of the lake, or were they persuaded to take it up later, in the lab?
I haven't seen that specifically answered but researchers did say they preferred phosphate (grew better when phosphate was present) so if there are low levels of phosphate in the lake, they probably had phosphate in their DNA when they were scooped out of the lake.

I don't think the researchers are trying to suggest otherwise, for the present lake conditions, however it seems they may be trying to suggest that an ancient version of such a lake, lacking in Phosphorous completely, may have allowed the organism to grow and in those conditions scooping them out of the lake might have revealed arsenic in the DNA, as in the lab experiment, since the no phosphate conditions were similar.

I can open the supplement to their paper , but not their actual paper, for some reason...maybe because I didn't pay for the article? But all they described in the news conference was lab work, and no evaluation of naturally occurring conditions was mentioned.

Here is the author's presentation from the Dec 2 2010 conference:



edit on 3-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: added video



posted on Dec, 3 2010 @ 08:17 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Honestly I hate that Sagan quote. "Extraordinary to who?", only in terms of limited Human understanding is this extraordinary. These organisms exist and our understanding of them allow humans to push outward our understanding of "what is life?". Now our probes that we send out beyond Earth will need expanded sensors to take into account this discovery.

This discovery may not be the OMG ITS AN ALIEN moment some were looking for but that only shows how narrow our point of view is, in its own way this is just as big.



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