New Bacteria redefines life !
TOPIC id: 67974
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44711 keyur2983 2010-12-04 01:09:43


NASA scientists have discovered a new type of bacteria that is able to substitute arsenic--a poison to most living creatures--as a biological building block, something no other known life form on Earth can do The scientists announced that they had discovered a new form of bacteria, known as GFAJ-1, in California's Mono Lake that has DNA completely foreign to anything ever before found on Earth. It has the ability to substitute arsenic at the DNA level for phosphorus. That would distinguish it from every other form of life known to man, all of which, no matter how diverse, are based on the same six elements, phosphorus, sulfur, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. But after months in the laboratory, the bacteria that was found in MonoLake--which is known for its unusual chemistry, including very high levels of salinity, alkalinity, and arsenic--was found to have substituted arsenic atoms for phosphorous atoms in its cells. "The newly discovered microbe, strain GFAJ-1, is a member of a common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteria," NASA wrote in a release. "In the laboratory, the researchers successfully grew microbes fromthe 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. Subsequent analyses indicated that the arsenic was being used to produce the building blocks of new GFAJ-1 cells." NASA feels that this discovery is important because it will help scientists with many areas of future research, such as the"study of Earth's evolution, organic chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, disease mitigation, and Earth system research. These findings also will open up new frontiers in microbiology and other areas of research."
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