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Posts Tagged ‘bacteria’

Antarctic Lake Vida Provides Clue To Alien Life

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

By Posted: 27/11/2012

The discovery of bacteria which thrives in a salty, ice-sealed Antarctic lake has strengthened the possibility of alien life on planets such as Mars.

Lake Vida, which is located in the region’s McMurdo Dry Valleys, contains no oxygen, is mostly frozen and possesses the highest nitrous oxide levels of any natural water body on Earth.

A briny liquid that is approximately six times saltier than seawater percolates throughout the icy environment that has an average temperature of minus 13.5 degrees centigrade (8 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The discovery of bacteria in an Antarctic lake strengthens the possibility of alien life on other planets (file picture)

 Dr Peter Doran, of the University of Illinois in Chicago, told New Scientist: “Lake Vida is a model of what happens when you try to freeze a lake solid, and this is the same fate that any lakes on Mars would have gone through as the planet turned colder from a watery past.

“Any Martian water bodies that did form would have gone through this Vida stage before freezing solid, entombing the evidence of the past ecosystem.”

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS), and were co-authored by Dr Alison Murray and Dr Christian Fritsen, of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute (DRI).

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/antarctic-lake-vida-alien-_n_2198485.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

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Giving Ancient Life Another Chance to Evolve: Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism

July 12, 2012 1 comment

July 12, 2012

Paleo-experimental evolution. (Credit: Image courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology)
 
Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action.

“This is as close as we can get to rewinding and replaying the molecular tape of life,” said scientist Betül Kaçar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech’s NASA Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution. “The ability to observe an ancient gene in a modern organism as it evolves within a modern cell allows us to see whether the evolutionary trajectory once taken will repeat itself or whether a life will adapt following a different path.”

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711100726.htm