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NASA scientists discover second genesis on earth

Arsenic microbes
Arsenic microbes
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Arsenic microbes
Arsenic microbes © NASA 2010

NASA scientists have discovered a second genesis of life on earth, the US space agency announced today.

While researching in chemical rich environment of Mono Lake, Calafornia, NASA scientists have discovered microogranisms that can survive and reproduce using the highly toxic chemical arsenic.  The newly discovered microbes, named GFAJ-1, can breath the chemical, which is lethal to most organisms on earth.  NASA reports that the chemical also forms part of the organisms’ DNA and RNA.


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NASA said that the discovery has “changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.”  They believe that GFAJ-1 could provide new insights into man’s understanding of biology, evolution, history, chemistry and  astrology.

Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate said,

“The definition of life has just expanded. As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it.”


NASA video of the discovery

The discovery opens the possibility that a greater number of planets and environments can harbour life in the galaxy.

The research is published in this week’s edition of Science Express.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).