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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:03 AM
Original message
NASA Finds New (form of) Life
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 11:09 AM by Ian David
Source: Gizmodo

Hours before their special news conference today, the cat is out of the bag: NASA has discovered a completely new life form that doesn't share the biological building blocks of anything currently living in planet Earth. This changes everything.

At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

But not this one. This one is completely different. Discovered in the poisonous Mono Lake, California, this bacteria is made of arsenic, something that was thought to be completely impossible. While she and other scientists theorized that this could be possible, this is the first discovery. The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don't have to be like planet Earth.

No details have been disclosed about the origin or nature of this new life form. We will know more today at 2pm EST but, while this life hasn't been found in another planet, this discovery does indeed change everything we know about biology. I don't know about you but I've not been so excited about a bacteria since my STD tests came back clean. And that's without counting yesterday's announcement on the discovery of a massive number of red dwarf stars, which may harbor trillion of Earths.

Read more: http://gizmodo.com/5704158/nasa-finds-new-life



See prior thread:

NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...





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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. rats, I wanted it to be on another planet
but this is pretty cool nonetheless
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Mono Lake looks like it could be on another planet
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. What are those forms made of?
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Mostly calcium carbonate
It's been drying up for a long, long time. The tufa were exposed when people started exploiting the water sources that feed the lake.
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somone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Calcium carbonate
aka limestone
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
62. And apparently, the DNA is based on arsenic...
... DNA using a metalloid is fascinating.
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happygoluckytoyou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #62
185. EVOLUTION (the movie) QUICK GET THE HEAD AND SHOULDERS
The aliens are supposedly nitrogen-based, making them vulnerable to selenium in the same way humans are vulnerable to arsenic because we're carbon-based. However, nitrogen atoms don't have the valence real estate to form the long molecular chains critical to the DNA structure shared by terrestrial and alien life (when Ira first analyzes the sample, he finds DNA with 10 base pairs).

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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 02:54 AM
Response to Reply #185
227. My spouse's joke on the cyanide-based life forms -
These should be called "Beck-teria."
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
84. I've been swiming there!
The "poisonous Mono Lake" reference in the OP is a bit of hyperbole. Lots of people swim in the lake (on the South Shore, to avoid the Mono Muck), because it's one of only a handful of bodies of water in the world that you can't drown in. It's one of the most buoyant water bodies anywhere. If you can keep yourself rolled onto your back, it's possible for even the most out of shape swimmer (or non swimmer) to swim all the way across it's 4 mile width. The chemicals (mostly epsom salts and baking soda) are also good for the skin!

I had no idea that I was swimming with "aliens" though! :woohoo:
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CubicleGuy Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #84
136. When was the last time...
... you checked yourself to make sure you're not a pod-person?
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Loudmxr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #84
205. Yes! I have been there too! I couldn't imagine a normal life form coming out of there.
I guess I was right.

BTW I ruined a really nice pair of shoes because I didn't know that the white stuff around the lake was not solid and I sank right into the muck. It was just the start of a very unpleasant vacation with the ex. That eventually turned out very pleasant once we hit New Mexico. The Land Of Enchantment. I wish I could find that motel in Taos again... that was one weird place. In a good way.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #205
223. LOL! There's a shoreline area on Mono called Sneaker Beach.
Were you near the old marina, by chance? Sneaker Beach got its name from the vast number of tourist shoes that are left in the mud there. It's deep, squishy, and the mineral shell reforms in HOURS...hiding the fact that it's so soft. It's my understanding that "Mono Muck" is actually the official name for the soft, mineral rich mud lining much of the lake.

There are a few spots, including much of the south shore, where the Muck doesn't exist though. The ground is more solid and the flies aren't quite as heavy on the south shore, so that's where most people go when they really want to swim. Even better, the tufa formations on the south side of the lake are in far better condition because they don't have as many tourists climbing all over them. There are also some awesome cinder cones at that end of the lake.
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DeadEyeDyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #84
222. Got kin?
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Hassin Bin Sober Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
90. ROCK PEOPLE!1!1!1!
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
98. It's surprising to realize how "alien" the Earth really is.
Volcanoes, salt lakes, undersea vents, hypoxic mountains, caves full of poisonous gases and corrosive liquids, vast deserts and the fact that most of the surface is covered in salt water. If an alien dropped out of the sky onto Mt. Everest or the Saraha, he would be forgiven for thinking the planet was barren. Likewise if said alien landed any time before about 400 million years ago, there would not be any obvious life anywhere.
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AnArmyVeteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
107. That photo is breathtaking!!!
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
111. Tufa!
Love Mono Lake... Lee Vining... Bishop... Bodie!
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
149. i stopped to get high by that lake and did not know at all
what it was like, we were driving from chicago to san jose and taking the back roads all the way, just when we got out of the desert on the bottom of the mountain from yosemite we saw blue about two miles off the blacktop and hit the gravel road down to the bottom, there were clouds of little flys of some sort that made a black ring around the lake. strange smelling too... perhaps i should not have put my toes in??? if i understand it was already a bit saltier than the sea before the streams were diverted back in 41..... cool place to burn a joint though ....
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Dumpster Macaine Donating Member (57 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
203. Life
It's a remarkable coincidence that, on the same day NASA discovers an astonishing new basic form of life, WikiLeaks offers us a transparent alternative to our own. ..A great day
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. Just what does this have to do w/ cats?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Ian David.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
5. Does this imply that life evolved at least twice on earth?
Or, could this be the result of a mutation in a very primitive life form?
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Or some life arrived via panspermia
Are we the natives, or the aliens?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
18. Could be either one. We'll see at 2 PM what NASA's theory is.
And I, for one, welcome our new, arsenic-based overlords.


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obxhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
34. They can't possibly screw it up any worse than we have.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #18
85. HAAA!!
*snort*



this is SO cool!
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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. More likely an adaptation
To a poison environment.
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montanto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. Not saying that's wrong, because I'm not smart enough, but
how would something "adapt" at the elemental level of DNA?
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TheEuclideanOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #35
78. It won't be the first time. Expect to see new life forms in the Gulf soon
with a DNA based on dispersants.
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GOTV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #35
92. Well, we're talking about bacteria ...
... so with each creature there is only a single copy of the dna to modify.


When a cell is dividing the dna splits down the middle and each half reconstitutes itself by rebuilding the missing half from the available atoms near by with the help of some protiens.

Arsenic is in the same column as Phosphorous on the periodic table which means it is chemically similar to it should be able to stand-in for Phosphorous in some molecules. In an environment so rich in arsenic it is possible to imagine that sometimes when a bacteria divides the new halves rebuild themselves using some Arsenic atoms to fit into the holes meant for Phosphorous atoms.

If Arsenic is much more prevalent in the environment than Phosphorous a bacteria that develops a dependence on it over Phosphorous has an advantage.


And actually, now that I think of it, all adaptation occurs at the DNA level.
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montanto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #92
121. Ok, I can see how all adaptation happens at the DNA level
but obviously not all adaptation to DNA happens at the elemental level--which was part of my first post. Your explanation of the possibility of As replacement of P through chemical/atomic similarity helps me though understand though. thanks
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #92
148. And actually, now that I think of it, all adaptation occurs at the DNA level.
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 03:30 PM by AlbertCat
Indeed.

Isn't DNA probably an adaptation of RNA in the 1st place?



This discovery gives me the same feeling I had when they discovered all those life forms around thermal vents on the ocean floor. Yes. life is rare and precious, but on this planet at least, doncha get the feeling it's the rule, and not the exception to the rule? It's had over 3 billion years to crop up anywhere it can get even the slightest hold.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #35
105. NASA says they think it's an adaption
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.

Notably, the research found that the bacteria thrived best in a phosphorus environment.

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.
...
"This is just a weird branch on the known tree of life," said Professor Davies. "We're interested ultimately in finding a different tree of life... that will be the thing that will have massive implications in the search for life in the Universe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11886943
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #35
173. successful mutation
DNA replicates itself bazillions of times over. The DNA proofreaders, spellcheckers and grammarcheckers make mistakes too, sometimes. A wrong chemical slips into an amino acid and gets skipped over, a wrong amino acid slips into the dna and gets skipped over.

Most mistakes are benign -- neither helpful nor harmful (eg, 6-toed cats). Some mistakes are harmful and lead to disease.

And some mistakes are extremely successful and improve the survival rate of the progeny. In this case, arsenic replaced something in an amino acid and enhanced the survival of that particular bacteria.
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Thor_MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #35
211. We could use the "E" word and piss off the conservatives....
EVOLUTION!!!!
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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #35
233. By mutating
That is how evolution works. Our DNA is constantly mutating. Most mutations are not helpful and are weeded out by natural selection. Other mutations are beneficial and help said organism to survive changes in the environment. It is these, 'good,' mutations that persist.
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #22
36. not simple adaption...
that's nothing new. It's proof that all living forms don't have to have the same building blocks that earth based life does.
It's big!
:bounce:
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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #36
75. I've Always Thought That Our Definition of Life Was Ethnocentric
If something didn't have the exact same building blocks as life on earth then it was not considered life.
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ananda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #75
103. I seem to remember an episode of Star Trek...
... about a life form based on silicon.

That really got me thinking.

And now this.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #103
150. The similarity between P and As is much greater than the similarity between C and Si.
N and C are second-row elements, and behave very differently from third-row and heavier elements, such as P and Si (2nd row) or As and Ge (3rd row). Most P in nature occurs as phosphate, PO4-3; there is no corresponding NO4-3, but As and Sb do form analogs with parallel chemistry. The single biggest difference is that C,N, and O form relatively strong "pi" bonds, and hence strong double bonds. Thid-row and heavier elements form double bonds which are much weaker than two single bonds, so they tend to form single bonds rather than double (some exceptions). Nitrogen occurs as N2 with one triple bond, but phosphorous forms P4 with four single bonds. Likewise, CO2 has two double bonds, and exists as separate molecules readily forming a gas at normal temperature, while SiO2 forms all single bonds, which it can only do by forming a molecular crystal (silica/quartz).

Basically, As is larger than P, and holds onto electrons less strongly, so it can function as a "big phosphorous". It's worth noting that most organisms fed arsenate incorporate As in place of P in such energy-storage molecules as ATP -- the problem is, the As analogs react much more rapidly with water (because there's more room around the larger As atom), so As-ATP is usually hydrolyzed rapidly back to arsenate and the organism basically starves to death as arsenate catalytically depletes its energy sources. Perhaps because DNA is held together by interbase H-bonds, As-DNA is less prone to hydrolysis than As-ATP etc., so shuttling the As into the DNA is just a way of protecting ATP etc., thus enabling the organism to survive.

Selenomethionine occurs relatively rarely in Nature, but can be incorporated into proteins just as (sulfur-based) methionine can, simply by providing a diet in which methionine has been replace by selenomethionine. This is done routinely to produce Se-tagged proteins for X-ray crystallography.

Personally, I think this announcement is overblown. This sounds like a surprising case of adaptation, not unthinkably so, however. Certainly not something demanding a "separate Creation".
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #150
174. Fascinating.
Do you suppose the As-DNA is structually similar, then, to P-DNA? And, do you suppose their RNA is also As-RNA?

I can't imagine that "shuttling the As into the DNA is just a way of protecting ATP" is really what is going on here. That would suppose that there is very limited As, not a premise upon which I would design an essential nucleic acid.

No, there's something else going on here. I think it's fascinating.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #174
186. Extremely similar. As for RNA -- not necessarily, but if it is, it is.
I'd be skeptical that As-RNA could hold together as well. RNA has so many single-stranded portions that I doubt it is as stable relative to hydrolysis products as DNA, though I can't begin to estimate how big the difference might be.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #186
195. BTW, I just noticed that they are also saying that the ATP uses As instead too
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 07:43 PM by Duer 157099
So, apparently it uses ATA. And as you noted, ATA is chemically less stable than ATP, so this organism must have undergone some other adaptive changes relative to energy use.

The article mentions that they grew the organism in increasing phosphorus concentrations and it apparently can substitute phosphorus back instead of arsenic. Seems like it can use either one, depending on the environment. But it prefers phosphorus.

edit: oops! and upon reading even further, I found that actually what they did was to FORCE the organism to use arsenic, not the other way around. Apparently, in the lab, they subsituted the phosphorus in the growth media with arsenic, and discovered that the bacterium could survive. DOH! I, and I think many others, thought that they found an organism that is natively using arsenic. Well, maybe it does. I dunno, I sure would rather read the original paper than the dumbed-down synopses that the press gives us instead.
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yawnmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #103
165. NO KILL I
I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer.
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wakemewhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #103
214. lol!
:thumbsup:
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gaijinlaw Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #75
232. gaijinlaw
So we've been lookin' for life in all the wrong places... </johnnylee>
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #36
154. same building blocks that earth based life does.
Uh... this bacteria IS an Earth based life form.
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #154
220. I read that again later...
when it was too late to edit. lol
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #22
45. No "adaptation" of an existing normal earth life form could cause this to develop.
The microbiologist in me thinks it evolved separately from other life forms on earth. Of course it could have seeded from elsewhere and can only survive in Mono Lake......
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quakerboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #45
228. I think your inner microbiologist
Edited on Fri Dec-03-10 03:03 AM by quakerboy
is wrong. Reading the articles about this (not the op's, which was early and relatively low on actual factual content), it turns out it is no new organism, but a form of bacteria we already knew about. All we discovered was a new survival mechanism in that already familiar bacteria, that of being able to use Arsenic in place of the P that it normally uses. In a DNA structure just like every other critter on this rock.

On edit, it seems more like a house builder learning to use baked mud bricks instead of cement blocks than like an alchemist changing lead into gold.
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #22
64. Hardly, if it's made of arsenic.

And if phosphorus is not even in its DNA. This is a completely, separate development of life that does not share a common ancestor to anything else on earth. It's common "ancestor" to us and any other known living thing would be rock or mud, not anything that reproduced consumed and reproduced.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
33. Probably pointless to speculate until we know what NASA is actually announcing:
and I'm not informed enough about chemistry to know whether As could actually substitute for P in the DNA double-helix

But I used to live and hike in arid California not so far from Mono Lake, and the hydrogeology there is complex. One has both drinkable springs and poisonous ones -- and arsenic waters are not terribly uncommon. So it seems to me that there might be a plausible evolutionary route for bacteria there with some As substituting for P -- namely, if one had an arsenic-water input into a sufficiently normal lake, a mutation allowing bacteria to use As instead of P for some purposes might allow a bacterium to colonize otherwise under-used waters

It's worth noting that the original Mono Lake ecosystem essentially disappeared as the lake was drained by regional and trans-regional human water-withdrawals in the last century, and bacteria adapted to poison-springs might have survived better as the lake was drained
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
59. Life certainly evolved many times on Earth. Odds are it's evolving in cans of soup right now.
But soon as the poor little proto-critters that might form in that soup put themselves together, they are gobbled right up by the older critters who got their head start 4 billion years ago.

Anyway, if you remember hearing about the old Miller-Urey experiment from high school, it suggests that (especially given the timescales!) life probably started in many places on Earth before the first colonies of it spread around enough to run into each other (and eat each other) and it all started turning into a single biosphere.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
116. link to NASA article
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #116
142. Thanks for the link - it clears it up - n/t
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backtomn Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
125. It could mean that it evolved under those extreme conditions.
Where one of the 6 key elements (like sulfur) was not available. This might be possible to do this scientifically......but not naturally.....until today.
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. I want to buy arsenic sea monkeys for my kids this Christmas. Will I be able to?
Seriously though, that's a cool finding. I thought it was going to be lame.

PB
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #6
54. Unless we have gotten around to reversing Bush's crappy water
policies, it is possible that you can just get a glass of water and tell the kids there are arsenic sea monkeys in there. I mean, there is plenty of arsenic allowed in our drinking water and it is probably about as visible as the baby sea monkeys were.

I had some of those brine shrimp/sea monkeys growing up. They were hard to see as babies. It wasn't until they became "grandpas" that you could see them all that great. The kids won't know the difference. :P
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backtomn Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
127. Only in New Jersey. ; )
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
8. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. 
[link:www.democraticunderground.com/forums/rules.html|Click
here] to review the message board rules.
 
tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. No, I don't think it has anything to do with it.
OTOH, I could be overestimating the intelligence of the average American or underestimating the intelligence of this administration. I've been known to do both at times.

Welcome to DU, BTW.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. Thread hijacking attempt - FAIL!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
109. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #109
140. Dammit, what did I miss?
Too busy this morning to log on.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #140
143. NASA discovered Trolls on Uranus.
:thumbsup:
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #143
144. Apparently, this thread attracted them like a homing instinct
Ah, the science bashers and the "Earth is 6000 years old types." Sorry I missed it.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #144
145. Some people get really, really angry when confronted with new or interesting data
and science, in particular, seems to set them off.

It's weird, it is.
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
9. WOW! n/t
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sellitman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
12. So this is where Republicans come from!
That explains everything.

:think:
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. LOL
:toast:

and a few ex's!
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backtomn Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
132. No.....this is SCIENCE-based
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
155. Yes, toxic. Made of arsenic. nt
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BlueMTexpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 02:45 AM
Response to Reply #12
226. Poison-based, to be sure. nt
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
14. K&R
Very exciting finding!
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
17. AWESOME!
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
19. See also: NASA find new lifeform: arsenic microbe widens likelihood of extraterrestrial life
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 11:35 AM by Ian David
NASA find new lifeform: arsenic microbe widens likelihood of extraterrestrial life

NASAs curiously worded press release earlier this week about an event later today prompted speculation that the space agency had discovered extraterrestrial life; going by a leak ahead of conference, its actually something about as alien as you can get from physiology as we know it, only on this very planet. According to NOS, NASA has found a new type of bacteria in Mono Lake, California, which lives with levels of arsenic in its biology that were hitherto believed impossible.



That alone is enough to make it significantly different from all life weve encountered to date human, animal, plant or microbial which regularly consists of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur but to which arsenic is deadly. Its unclear whether NASA will announce that this new bacteria swaps out the phosphorus in its DNA for arsenic, or merely utilizes the poison in some way.

More:
http://www.slashgear.com/nasa-find-new-lifeform-arsenic... /


Nasa to unveil new life form: Bacteria that thrive on arsenic

Nasa is about to reveal a discovery that changes the way we think about life both extraterrestrial and terrestrial. It's not the long-awaited announcement of alien life but is extraordinary nonetheless. We will give the full story when the embargo lifts at 7pm GMT and will analyse reaction to it over the coming days in this story tracker

More:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/dec/02/nasa-life...

NASA Announcement Leaked: NASA Arsenic Announcement Thursday Leaked
http://www.longislandpress.com/2010/12/02/nasa-announce... /

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Frisbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
20. I was ready to be disappointed...
but this didn't disappoint! This is way cool, and makes me wonder what else may lurk out there where we'd never even think to look because of our preconceptions. Maybe now that we have good reason to look outside the box, so to speak, even more unforeseen life forms will be found here at home, strengthening the argument that life (almost) certainly lives on other planets. Cool day to be alive, despite all the other BS going down in the world!
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
21. Arsenic & old lace.............humm
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 11:40 AM by Historic NY
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
23. Defining what life is, based only on existing life on our planet,
has always been a mistake. I believe it has limited our search for other possibilities.
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zehnkatzen Donating Member (769 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
25. I, for one, welcome our new arsenic-based masters.
Someone was going to say it, ya'll.
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Frisbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
26. There are some really awesome pictures of Mono Lake...
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 11:45 AM by Frisbee
Looks like time for some new wallpaper!

Mono Lake

Edited to update link.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
27. I have assumed this would happen since I was a bio student in college.
I never understood why people focused on finding life LIKE ours. It seemed to me that there would be some other unique formation of it.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #27
38. NO KILL I



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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #38
61. Aww I was gonna post a Horta picture /reference!
Its about the first thing I thought of when I heard the news..lol...
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
28. What did they find, a conservative with an actual working brain?
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. We shouldn't confuse fantasy with reality
We're talking about science, a conservative with a working brain has always been proven to be impossible.
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groundloop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. Don't get your hopes up, some things just aren't possible no matter what
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
29. I've been to Mono Lake.
It's very cool.

The flying bugs are pretty intense, though.

My girlfriend got all freaked out by them and stayed in the car.
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postulater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
32. Can't wait to hear Bill Nye on this!
Bill!

Bill!

Bill!

Bill Nye!
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LongTomH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #32
176. OK, Here's Bill!!!!
Here's Bill Nye at the Planetary Society blog: Arsenic and Deep Space?

If you or I ingest arsenic, well... it doesn't go so well. If you are, on the other hand, a certain species of bacterium from Mono Lake, California, ingesting this seemingly toxic metal is simple enough. You would have a way to use arsenic in the place of phosphorus -- not just in some chemical reactions, but in your very DNA, the instructions for living. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow, and her colleagues have found that a bacterium from the Halomonadace ae family of proteobacteria is able to completely swap arsenic for phosphorus.


More here: http://planetary.org/blog/article/00002796/
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
37. K&R
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FailureToCommunicate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
39. A more glorious dawn awaits! (link)
Billions and billions, oh my!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc&feature=fvsr


(thanks for the news, Gizmodo.)
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
40. Maybe we can enslave them and train them to manufacture our...
semiconductors.

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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #40
48. Maybe we can find a way to reverse some of the effects of Bush's
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 12:41 PM by Jamastiene
crappy policies on clean water. Remember back then when he allowed more arsenic in the water? What if these...er....beings can eat/absorb/bind with the arsenic and clean up the water? :think:

A girl can dream, can't she?
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Baclava Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
41. So WE are the aliens, this isn't our planet
I knew it.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #41
50. Ruh roh, what if the little arsenic creatures demand we leave, then
shoot death rays at us? How will we defend against that? :wow:
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Baclava Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #50
67. Purity control! WE must wipe out these arsenic-based lifeforms before they take control!
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 01:20 PM by Baclava
A billion years from now I bet the Arsenicians will want our females for their hybrid experiments too.

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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #67
160. WE must wipe out these arsenic-based lifeforms before they take control!
Well, their children certainly shouldn't just be made US citizens! Do they have the right papers?
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Baclava Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #160
198. Don't make me paranoid
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 07:20 PM by Baclava
People think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time.

All day long I think of things, but nothing seems to satisfy.

edit


Can you help me?

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pokercat999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #50
139. I'm sure our congress people are already working closely
with the lobbyists from Raytheon, Boeing and several others to work out the bribes for contracts. Have no fear NASA has figured out a way to insure it's continuation by ingratiating it's self to the corporate powers that be by finding a new source of fear driven defense spending.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #41
130. You watched Battlestar Galactica redux, too? n/t
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Baclava Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #130
189. I firmly believe the whole 'Alien' movie series was a CIA plot to desensitize us to our true past
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 06:29 PM by Baclava
We are the infected quarantine planet where all the rabid species go.

Personally, I think the overlords just want our wimmin'.

A tip, look out for the swans





oops, I've got mail



perhaps I've said too much
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
42. Awesone! Can't wait to hear more! nt
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
43. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
44. Science-fiction has long predicted something like this....
...life-forms using different elemental building blocks from the ones we assume are universal and irreplaceable. The classic example being, of course, the Horta on Star Trek, who used silica in place of carbon (as I recall my undergraduate chemistry, those elements are in the same column on the periodic table, making it not entirely improbable that one could substitute for the other). Once again, visionary "fiction" writers have been ahead of the curve!
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #44
68. It's easy to be "ahead of the curve" when you don't have to prove anything
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 01:03 PM by liberation
Damned science and the burden of proof slowing it down! ;-)
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #44
151. Only because they don't really understand the chemistry. See my post #169 above.
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 03:32 PM by eppur_se_muova
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

BTW, I am a lifelong SF fan, I just happen to be a chemist too. :)
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NeoGreen Donating Member (299 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
46. I see a number of possibilities...
(admittedly before reading the article)

1) Non-Arsenic DNA is indigenous to Earth and the As-DNA is independently derived and Extra-terrestrial
(huge implications for the Drake Equation)

2) Both Non-Arsenic DNA and As-DNA are indigenous to Earth and are independently derived
(huge implications for the Drake Equation, and possible implications for theology)

3) Both Non-Arsenic DNA and As-DNA are non-indigenous to Earth and are independently derived
(huge implications for the Drake Equation, and possible implications for theology)

4) As-DNA is indigenous to Earth and the non Arsenic-DNA is independently derived and Extra-terrestrial
(huge implications for the Drake Equation and theology)

5) Either the non Arsenic DNA or the As-DNA are derived from the other and either are originally indigenous or Extra-terrestrial
(implications all the way around)

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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #46
197. (... and possible implications for theology) Now! Now! Don't upset our "naive realist" friends...
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 07:12 PM by Joe Chi Minh
Just raising that possibility is enough to give some of them vapours. Smelling salts! Quickly!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
47. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
49. Maybe this is the key
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 12:40 PM by Turbineguy
to understanding Republicans. Arsenic being a poison and all.
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Tikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #49
161. Not too many repugs* in California, though...
*(see recent election results)



Tikki
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Democat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
51. I was hoping they found Obama's spine on another planet
and they were rushing it back to Earth.
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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #51
104. So was I. LOL
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backtomn Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #51
131. Is there any thread that won't elicit this type of comment?? : )
I appreciate the levity, but he an American citizen....sorry, couldn't help it.
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colorado_ufo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
52. All we need to do is open our minds
and set aside our arrogance. Earth life, as we have known it, may not be the "gold standard" that we have held it to be as the basis for all life in the universe.
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perdita9 Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
53. I'm not sure this qualifies as a new life form.
DNA is made up of two sugar phosphate backbones with 4 nitrogenous bases in between which spell out the code. If the organism is organizing its proteins the same way then the only thing that has changed is swapping out the arsenic for the phosphate in the backbone of the DNA. That implies an adaptation, not a completely new form of life.
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NeoGreen Donating Member (299 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. To make a determination either way...
would it matter if there was evidence that the As-DNA was indigenous or extra-terrestrial (presumably independently derived)?
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #53
73. how many other life forms are you aware that use metalloids instead of phosphate for their DNA ?
?
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NeoGreen Donating Member (299 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #73
166. None...
and as I understand it this is the first time we have evidence of the case.

I asked my question above to see if the origin and not the chemistry would make the difference in his definition of 'new life form'.

Just askin' to be curious, not to be a jerk (then or now).

Apologies if my post struck an improper 'tone'.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #53
193. I suppose it will depend on whether the code is the same
and if As is substituted in the RNA molecule and it affects the stability (as a poster above noted) then we might suppose that it is conceivable that the code will vary.

If the code is different, would that qualify as a different life form? :shrug:
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Doc_Technical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
55. "It's life Jim, but not as we know it."
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
57. Wow. Once again we learn that we don't know nearly as much as we like to pretend we do.
:kick: & R

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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #57
199. Steady, there...
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
58. I think it isn't "bacteria."

They're just calling it that because they don't know what to call it yet. Hopefully, that name doesn't stick.

Or maybe the word bacteria is like "bug." Not really an insect but any tiny crawly living thing, probably an insect.
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Ticonderoga Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
60. In the grand scheme of things,
who cares what NASA discovers. They should be the first to be defunded. We need to save our country and it's people first.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #60
63. Hey I see the anti-science brigade has checked in!
Yeah, who needs that larnin stuff and discovery. I mean clearly its a sin agaisnt god right? Aye carumba. Save this shit for the Palinista crowd.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #63
74. I thought The Amish didn't use the internets. n/t
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #63
89. Gawd did it. That's allz I needs tah know.
:hi:
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #89
113. Knowledge and new information scare and upset me.
Not to mention, piss me off.

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eyepaddle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #60
69. That was the most concentrated pointlessness so far in this thread.
And you have some stiff competition.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #60
72. Yet you'll still use a microcomputer, the internet, GPS satellites...
...

Why don't you go become Amish?

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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #60
76. Damn right, and they should keep the government off your medicare too!
Damn scientist wasting our precious hard earned moneys, what have they ever done for us?
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #60
87. BOOOO!! nt
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14thColony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #60
93. Yes, and to hell with all those spin-off technologies they've contributed to
Like super conductors, high-speed computers, lasers, advanced rocket motors, advanced supersonic/hypersonic flight, cordless power tools, advanced battery technology, smoke detectors, home water filtration systems, aluminum-based insulation, medical body imaging technology, advanced prosthetic limb, infrared thermometers, chromosomal analysis software, digital mammography, satellite communications, aircraft collision avoidance systems...

What a bunch of star-gazing freeloaders!

I'm with you buddy, let's save a few million dollars and let OTHER countries corner the market on the next wave of advanced technology. That'll show NASA...
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #60
101. I don't believe it's a zero-sum equation...
"We need to save our country and it's people first..."

I don't believe it's a zero-sum equation. I imagine we may attempt one while still attempting the other-- neither being fundamentally predicated on the other.


I'd imagine that in the Grand Scheme of things, our country holds little more importance than the rise and fall of dozens of other empires throughout the rather small time-frame of human history. :shrug:
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #60
112. Yes, science and knolwedge never did anything to help people.
Back to the caves and yurts with ye!
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #112
126. I use my knolwedge
any time my tee shot gets stuck behind a knoll. ;)
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #60
129. Defund NASA?
OK, but don't come whining to the guys in lab coats to save our country and it's people when...


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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #129
190. "Let's burn the observatory so this'll never happen again."
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Springfield_Observatory

Just the idea that life can be so versatile is going to change everything. Everywhere we looked for life before, we may wish to check again. And previous anomalous readings, like that of the Labeled Release experiment on one of the Vikings, may have to be reconsidered.

And, of course, we're going to have to consider whether or not early visits to other places have already introduced invasive biology.
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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #60
138. And we shall save this planet with ignorance leading the way!
:rofl:
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #60
146. Did you ever think about how many people NASA employs
And how many advances we have made as a country and for ITS people because of NASA?


And NASA employs people from private industry. That should make the teabaggers really happy.

Want to raise the retirement age too?


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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #60
159. Learning new things about the universe is teh evul.
If I can have my beer and chips and big screen TV, what else really matters?
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #60
163. The rest of us aren't afraid of science. nt
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #60
164. who cares what NASA discovers
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 04:01 PM by AlbertCat
I dunno.... everyone who breathes?


I know, to save our country and its people, let's tax the churches and businesses owned by the churches and give that money to science.... which saves us every day.


(boy! did you completely miss the "grand scheme of things"...whoosh! right over your pointed little head!)
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #60
187. yeah and trying to save the country without science. is like wanting to protect feet
but refusing to wear shoes.

dumb
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #60
201. To what purpose?
Whats the point of preserving life if its not to push forward in our search for knowledge and beauty?

Science and art are the _last_ things that should be defunded.
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ElboRuum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #60
218. Drive by anti-NASA post. Do I have to say it? Yeah I do. FAIL.
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ElboRuum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #218
219. Self-delete... More fail. See what you started?!??!
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 11:21 PM by ElboRuum
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rosenthal Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
65. I often hear, "X planet can't have no life because there's no water in it"
But what if the living beings in that planets do not need water, like we do? I don't know why we always assume everyone else has to be similar to us.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #65
71. There are other solvents besides water.
I think Larry Niven (or Arthur C. Clarke) even suggested life forms based on liquid Helium, although that one's a pretty big stretch.

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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #71
156. Ammonia is the favorite alternative. Very abundant on Jovians and near-Jovians.
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 03:51 PM by eppur_se_muova
A mixture of ammonia and water might be a possibility, as in Hal Clement's novel "Fossil".

Clement also wrote a novel ("Close to Critical") in which the atmosphere was a mixture of water and sulfuric acid near the critical point, and one in which the atmosphere was gaseous sulfur (it wasn't Io). :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Clement
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liberation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #65
80. Not really, what you may have heard is that Planet X may have life becasue there is water in it.
Or that Planet Y may be candidate to host life in it because it is within the so-called "habitable zone" (a distance from a start in which the surface of the planet is neither too cold nor too hot, just like our planet). Mostly because we only know life on earth, and thus that is what our knowledge is limited (you can't search for things that you don't know, or that your models do not predict, or you can not observe). Mostly because trying to prove a negative is generally not a good idea...
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
66. Life does not have to consist of the componets that Earth based
life is made of, other planets will not have the same conditions or elements as Earth does. It is just naive to think that life in the cosmos can only exist with OUR chemical make-up.
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #66
202. Naive?
Not much reason to believe otherwise until now. And anyway you would probably not find many scientists disagreeing that was possible or even likely. Somehere out there.

But until now that has been pure speculation. There was no real scientific reasoning behind assuming that other building blocks would work.

Even so, as far as I understood some the NASA scientists, there were some properties to this new "structure" that imposed some limitations on the viability of it. That it needed a decidedly special environment in order to form. And not of the kind that would lead to any kind of life beyond the bacterial level.
And thats with something that is still relatively close to our chemical make-up.

Someone correct me if I heard something that was not said. :)

But that fact that it is possible at all is groundbreaking. Or wallbreaking is probably a better term.



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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #202
209. Yes, naive...nt
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 03:17 AM
Response to Reply #209
230. Why?
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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
70. K&R It would be nice if we lived in a world where this kind of breakthrough...
...got the same amount of coverage as the death of a celebrity. But we don't, so it won't.
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Frisbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #70
118. CNN didn't even do one of their breaking news emails...
of course had Britney been in an accident, or the octomom become preggers agin, THAT would be news.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #70
213. Can this life form win Dancing With The Stars?
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
77. Interesting article on this with link to scientist's website
http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57851 /

http://www.ironlisa.com /


Felisa taking samples from a sediment core she pulled up from the remote shores of 10 Mile Beach at Mono Lake in California.
(photo credit: 2010 Henry Bortman)
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #77
94. Interesting.
That article from The Scientist makes it sound like this is an adaptation rather than something separately evolved.
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #94
117. Have to admit I get lost at a certain point
in reading this.
But I do find it fascinating.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #94
210. that's what it is-- here is an excerpt from the original paper....
I can't provide a link because the paper was forwarded to me as a pdf, but I've excerpted part below and it's easy to search for the original online (but it won't be free at this point except for Science subscribers-- and you can bet that download line is HOT today).

Here's the citation: Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Jodi Switzer Blum, Thomas R. Kulp, Gwyneth W. Gordon, Shelley E. Hoeft,
Jennifer Pett-Ridge, John F. Stolz, Samuel M. Webb, Peter K. Weber, Paul C. W. Davies, Ariel D.
Anbar, Ronald S. Oremland. 2010. A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science Express.

www.sciencexpress.org / 2 December 2010 / Page 1 / 10.1126/science.1197258

Here's the last two paragraphs of the (short) conclusion:

Our data show arsenic-dependent growth by GFAJ-1 (Fig. 1). Growth was accompanied by arsenate uptake and
assimilation into biomolecules including nucleic acids, proteins and metabolites (Table 1 and 2, Figs. 2 and 3). In some organisms, arsenic induces specific resistance genes to cope with its toxicity (7); while some dissimilatory arsenicutilizing microbes can conserve energy for growth from the oxidation of reduced arsenic species, or breathe" AsO4 3-, as a terminal electron acceptor (18). Our study differs because we used arsenic as a selective agent and excluded phosphorus, a major requirement in all hitherto known organisms. However, GFAJ-1 is not an obligate arsenophile and it grew considerably better when provided with P (Fig. 1A, B). Although AsO4 3- esters are predicted to be orders of magnitude less stable than PO4 3- esters, at least for simple molecules (8), GFAJ-1 can cope with this instability. The vacuole-like regions observed in GFAJ-1 cells when growing under +As/-P conditions are potentially poly-β- hydroxybutyrate rich which may stabilize As(V)-O-C type structures because non-aqueous environments appear to promote slower hydrolysis rates for related compounds (8). We propose that intracellular regions or mechanisms that exclude water may also promote this stability.

We report the discovery of an unusual microbe, strain GFAJ-1, that exceptionally can vary the elemental composition of its basic biomolecules by substituting As for P. How arsenic insinuates itself into the structure of biomolecules is unclear, and the mechanisms by which such molecules operate are unknown.


So it's NOT an obligate arsenophile-- this is pretty clearly an adaptation to a toxic environment. Leave it to bacteria-- and primitive bacteria at that-- to figure out how to do something like this!
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #77
102. This is Nobel Prize stuff.
:applause:
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
79. Arsenic-loving bacteria may help in hunt for alien life
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 01:22 PM by Ian David
The first organism able to substitute one of the six chemical elements crucial to life has been found.

<snip>

It also has implications for the way life arose on Earth - and how many times it may have done so.

<snip>

For example, astrobiologists have suggested that instead of the ubiquitous water that makes up so much of life, extraterrestrial life might just as likely run on ammonia.

<snip>

"If we can find a 'second genesis' on our planet, obviously separate from our own evolution, you could then extrapolate that life can generate multiple times - that it's not a one-off phenomenon," he told BBC News.

<snip>

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.

More:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11886943

That last paragraph is key.

This bacteria apparently doesn't do the strange arsenic-DNA-trick in the wild-- it was coaxed into doing this in the laboratory.

Hat-tip to:
http://twitter.com/NoisyAstronomer/status/1039639191434...


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DontTreadOnMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
81. Did Cheney ever visit Mono Lake?
Maybe something rubbed off... it would explain the arsenic connection.
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RedCloud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
82. When will NASA find intelligent life on this planet?
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #82
91. Still looking.
:-(
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
83. Holy fucking shit. Aliens, right here on Earth.
This is a big fucking deal. It is a form of life based on a chemistry that is different from everything else in the world. It really is like finding an alien species.

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
86. BBC: Arsenic-loving bacteria may help in hunt for alien life (with picture of the bacteria)
By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

The first organism able to substitute one of the six chemical elements crucial to life has been found.

The bacterium, found in a California lake, uses the usually poisonous element arsenic in place of phosphorus.

The find, described in Science, gives weight to the long-standing idea that life on other planets may have a radically different chemical makeup.

It also has implications for the way life arose on Earth - and how many times it may have done so.

Lengthy article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11886943




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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
88. If NASA scientists present this new life form as "ET"...
then I would expect they've done the work to come to that conclusion, instead of the bacterium being merely an adaptation. I can't wait to hear the details.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
95. Is this even new info?
I swear I heard about this a few months back
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
96. Link for the online NASA Broadcast @ 2
Link for the online NASA Broadcast @ 2
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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yodermon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
97. Cool, but seriously overhyped.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010... /


...
Its an amazing result, but even here, there is room for doubt. As mentioned, Wolfe-Simon still found a smidgen of phosphorus in the bacteria by the end of the experiment. The levels were so low that the bacteria shouldnt have been able to grow but its still not clear how important this phosphorus fraction is. Would the bacteria have genuinely been able to survive if there was no phosphorus at all?
...
These are questions for future research. In the mean time, the angle being used to sell the story is that this might have implications for alien life. Of course, the results have nothing to do with aliens. If anything, they expand the possibilities of what alien life might look like. If bacteria on Earth can exist using a biochemistry thats very different to that of other microbes, it stands to reason that aliens could do the same.

That hasnt stopped the hype machine from rolling forward, fuelled by a public announcement from NASA, teasing a press conference about an astrobiology discovery. Its a shame. In teasing their own press conference two days ahead of time, and refusing to budge on the embargo when the first information trickled in, NASA effectively muzzled everyone who knew about the actual story while allowing speculation to build to fever pitch.

That may, of course, be their intention. However, I cant help but feel that the result will be a lot of disappointed people, whove been robbed of an opportunity to be excited about a genuinely interesting discovery.

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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #97
153. Agreed. nt
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thereismore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
99. No common building blocks? I am pretty sure they use DNA just like any other fish. nt
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eyepaddle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #99
114. ?
Is this snark?
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thereismore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #114
119. No. P is in the same group with As, so I think they just substituted P for As, but
the rest of the chemistry is the same as everywhere else. Hardly revolutionary. A curiosity, yes.
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #119
204. A curiosity more or less deemed impossible.
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Paper Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
100. News like this is always exciting to hear. We are too arrogant to
believe that we are all the 'life' that can exist. Just suppose a bacteria infested meteoroid landed in the lake and found a friendly environment in which to survive? That chunk of cosmic dust may have come from one of the trillions of other planets in the universe. Maybe it is billions of years old and will survive and evolve as we did.

It is all in the environment,origin and final placement of the core of any form of life. Nowhere does it say that life has to be as we see it.
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #100
206. And nowhere was there any indication that it could be different.
Until now. And saying we are "too arrogant to believe that we are all the 'life' that can exist" is a strawman. 20-20 woowoo hindsight is just hilarious.

And theres no reason to believe that the bacteria was introduced from the "outside".
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Guilded Lilly Donating Member (960 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
106. Wayyyyy Cool :)
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Johnny2X2X Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
108. God ia amazing
And to think he blinked all of this into existence some 5000 years ago paying special attention to leave a mountain of evidence that the earth is much much older just to test our faith. What a joker.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #108
133. There are no gods. Only the myths we used to explain what we
did not know.
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NeoGreen Donating Member (299 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #133
167. Rec^Google
:)
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #133
207. The God FAQ agrees
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #108
183. NO, Goddess is
;-)

That Yahweh is nothing but a mountain storm guy. Like Zeus.

Jesus wasn't talking about Yahweh, but damned if the Christians have figured that one out yet.


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blackspade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
110. Very cool!
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
115. NASA-Funded Research Discovers Life Built With Toxic Chemical
... "We know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we've found is a microbe doing something new -- building parts of itself out of arsenic," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and the research team's lead scientist. "If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven't seen yet?"

The newly discovered microbe, strain GFAJ-1, is a member of a common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteria. 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. Subsequent analyses indicated that the arsenic was being used to produce the building blocks of new GFAJ-1 cells.

The key issue the researchers investigated was when the microbe was grown on arsenic did the arsenic actually became incorporated into the organisms' vital biochemical machinery, such as DNA, proteins and the cell membranes. A variety of sophisticated laboratory techniques was used to determine where the arsenic was incorporated.

The team chose to explore Mono Lake because of its unusual chemistry, especially its high salinity, high alkalinity, and high levels of arsenic. This chemistry is in part a result of Mono Lake's isolation from its sources of fresh water for 50 years ...

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiolo...
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
120. K&R - So will there be - or has there been - and Arsenic Jesus?...nt
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
122. The NASA biologist lady is SO pretty! n/t
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
123. image of Mono Lake, CA....
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backtomn Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:43 PM
Response to Original message
124. This is new in "naturally-occurring" living organisms.....
....but, the technology exists to produce such an organism. Some high-end nutritional supplements contain Selenium Yeast, which is produced by replacing Sulfur with Selenium (same charge), in the certain amino acids (methionine, cystine). So, it could occur naturally, but has certainly never been found.....until today.

It is amazing how many great chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc. are first found naturally.
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MicaelS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
128. "It's Life Jim, but not as we know it."
I'm sorry, I could not resist that line!
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #128
134. Hey, they just did a shout-out to the Horta! n/t
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peace13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
135. On the 8th day God created GFAJ-1!!! n/t
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
137. This could be used to produce bio-fuel without wasting phosphorous required for food fertilizer. n/t
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #137
157. We'd fertilize with arsenic instead ??
I don't want to live near any farm of yours! :evilgrin:
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #157
181. Could also be used to clean-up arsenic-tainted landfills. n/t
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #137
169. So far as practical uses go...
... I'm certain the pharmaceutical industry is looking at this.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
141. Time continues to march on and man's understanding of the universe slowly expands
It progresses little by little,but in important ways.
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bongbong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
147. repigs wanted arsenic to be legal
Ex-president Cheney & his errand-boy shrub wanted the legal limits of arsenic increased in water. Does this mean that repigs are another form of life?
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
152. "this bacteria is made of arsenic"
Aren't Teabaggers bacteria made from arsenic?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
158. *whistling "Twilight Zone" music*
:wow:
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Geoff R. Casavant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
162. Alas, it's not a naturally-occurring phenomenon
The latest articles say that scientists took a naturally-occurring bacteria in Mono Lake and "trained" it to use arsenic in addition to phosphorus.

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/02/5564852...
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #162
188. Thanks. That article provides some needed wet blanketry. nt
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #162
215. How do you "train" bacteria?
The capability was already in the kit. That's very interesting, especially in these very complex chemical systems that were presumed to be very finely tuned.

Replacing phosphorous with arsenic in these systems ought to break them, and in most organisms it does.

We think we know a lot about biochemistry, but we've only scratched the surface.

I suspect the signature of life is written across the universe. We just can't see it yet.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
168. Genetic engineering industrial waste dumped into the lake?
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 04:11 PM by valerief
Or naturally occurring life forms?

Yes, I know the article says the latter and I find this fascinating.

I wonder if they found it in a little teeny ark. No, that would have been in Kentucky.
:rofl:
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taught_me_patience Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
170. Obviously, God put it there to test our faith!
I kid I kid.
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Althaia Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
171. This highlights the importance of the Cassini mission
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm

The probe Cassini has been studying the Saturn system for a while. It has discovered lakes of liquid methane on Titan, and ice volcanoes on the surface of Enceladus, suggesting liquid water beneath its crust of ice. It has also discovered that Rhea has a thin oxygen/carbon dioxide atmosphere.

Demonstrating that life does not have to have the same chemical composition in all cases is enormously important. It supports the idea that there could very well be microbial life elsewhere in our own solar system.
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
172. I, for one welcome our new Halomonadaceae overlords!
(And you people thought Bush was just being an asshole when he upped the amount of arsenic allowed in our water!)
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
175. HOLY SHIT! This is huge!
Incredible, just incredible! :wow:
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SweetieD Donating Member (517 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
177. This is pretty major news!!
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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
178. I like my life-forms in 2 types. Is there a Stereo Lake?
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vduhr Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #178
200. Oh lord....
Rolls eyes, but still laughing.
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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #200
208. :) :)
:)
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skyounkin Donating Member (722 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
179. I for one
Welcome our new Arsenic based overlords!!

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coti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
180. Could this necessitate a new kingdom?
As far as I know, the five kingdoms all use phosporous-based DNA.
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Bolo Boffin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
182. This is not quite right. They forced the bacteria to accept arsenic into its DNA.
Which means that life can go there. It's still quite an astonishing announcement.
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
184. How many new nucleotides does this discovery yield?
Previously, we only had experience with four nucleotides. How many more does this lifeform introduce into the mix?
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Rosa Luxemburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
191. why can't it be a gene mutation? Uses arsenic instead of P
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #191
194. It would have to be a whole slew of mutations, imho
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 06:48 PM by Duer 157099
Just think, every phosphatase would also have to be mutated to use arsenic instead of phosphorus. Phosphorus is such a fundamental element in cells and is involved in many, many metabolic processes. The article didn't note whether As substitutes P in *all* other molecules, that seems an important question. If so, it will have to be radically different.
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ElboRuum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #194
216. Perhaps not.
Chemical interactions, for the most part, depend on the configuration of valence electrons, and elements in the periodic table in the same column have the same valence configuration. Additionally, elements in the same column also have similar chemical properties otherwise. While arsenic is a larger element sizewise, which may impact protein folding, it should substitute well in most reactions and processes where phosphorus would be present.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #191
212. it is an adaptation-- the mechanism isn't known yet....
See #231 above.
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vduhr Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
192. Whoa!
There are some smart science geeks here on DU! I am impressed!

I love hearing about finds like this. Considering the vastness and possible infinity of outer space, isn't anything possible? Any form of life? I ponder a lot.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
196. r
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RoccoR5955 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
217. They didn't have to go that far... They only had to
sequence Boner's DNA. Then Cheney's. They would have found two distinctly different forms of life.
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BlueCollar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
221. but I've not been so excited about a bacteria since my STD tests came back clean
You owe me a keyboard...

Surely this counts for a DUzy?
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 12:13 AM
Response to Original message
224. Cool! and to think at one point Mono Lake was endangered.
we could've wiped out a major scientific discovery just for the need of water to maintain a major metropolis in the arid southern coast of California.
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Chisox08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
225. I'm willing to bet that those bacteria is more intelligent than
the average Republican.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #225
234. A hypothesis worth testing
Of course, the protocol for the bacteria was to expose them to high levels of arsenic. To be scientific, we'd have to apply the same to the Repugs for comparison.
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Chisox08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 05:54 AM
Response to Reply #234
235. I'm all for it in the interest of science of course
:evilgrin:
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 03:13 AM
Response to Original message
229. I loved this news story this morning (PST).Thanks for posting it.
And the great photo of Sagan, too. :)
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Evasporque Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
231. Attack of the Arsenic and Old Lace Creature!...nt
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