Author Topic: Behold, our ancestors.  (Read 20070 times)

Kai

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Behold, our ancestors.
« on: October 13, 2008, 10:16:03 pm »


http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/10/behold-our-ance.html

A community of the bacteria Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator has been discovered 2.8 kilometres beneath the surface of the Earth in fluid-filled cracks of the Mponeng goldmine in South Africa. Its 60C home is completely isolated from the rest of the world, and devoid of light and oxygen.


D. audaxviator gets its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks. It has genes to extract carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and other genes to fix nitrogen, which comes from the surrounding rocks. ... D. audaxviator has genes to produce all the amino acids it needs.  D. audaxviator can also protect itself from environmental hazards by forming endospores - tough shells that protect its DNA and RNA from drying out, toxic chemicals and from starvation. It has a flagellum to help it navigate.

From http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn14906-goldmine-bug-dna-may-be-key-to-alien-life.html

Also, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/322/5899/275


I thought this organism was worth a second look it its own thread and a different context.

However, why oh WHY do people have to go on and on and on about seeding from outer space? I mean, sure it sounds cool, but isn't it so much cooler to contemplate how life might have arisen on our own planet, that this whole diversity is home grown and endemic? The nearest planets are dead lifeless rock, and even then, why is it more likely that life arose there rather than here? What is it about elsewhere that makes it seem so much more probable than right here on this planet, with so much water, low impact cosmic radiation and relatively happy temperatures? Furthermore, why is it so much more attractive?

I think its because people want to find "intelligent life" elsewhere. They want to be reassured that they we are not alone in this sector of the universe, or want to relive their childhood science fiction fantasies. Besides, saying life came from elsewhere doesn't help us understand how life arose, and unless you buy into a creator deity, it arose somewhere, sometime, somehow, and it arose spontaneously.

As fun as aliens may be sometimes, it is really really TRULY time to use Occam's Razor.

Now, back to the organism. Chemosynthetic, from URANIUM. Thats a new one. Chemosynthetic organisms that make use of sulfur are relatively common. Some of the most ancient of these (we suppose) are those living in deep sea vent environments, mostly because there is very little way that these could have gotten there if they had not arisen there in the first place. This bacteria is doing pretty well for its self too, with a flagellum and full ammino acid ability, plus, it can go cryptobiotic. Lots of bacteria have these abilities, but few have them in this combination, and none that I know of have these characters together, especially the whole Uranium radiation pathway.

So, we have two possible pathways for the metabolisms of the earliest bacteria now. Very cool.
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Jasper

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 10:24:49 pm »
Most perturbatory.  It reminds me of that fungus found inside chernobyl's reactor that uses gamma radiation as a food source.

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2008, 10:28:10 pm »
It's amazing how life can be found just about everywhere on earth.  Evolution is such a damn powerful process.

Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2008, 10:29:35 pm »
Most perturbatory.  It reminds me of that fungus found inside chernobyl's reactor that uses gamma radiation as a food source.

I haven't heard of that. Thats pretty cool too. Still, its a fungus, so that was a secondary addition...

Which is a cool thought, too. It means that things like chemosynthesis and radiosynthesis aren't as difficult to derive as we may think.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2008, 10:33:30 pm »
It's amazing how life can be found just about everywhere on earth.  Evolution is such a damn powerful process.

I'm amazed too. I'm amazed and awed at the emergent capacity for life on this planet.

I was reading recently from one of those books I've been gabbing about on here, Reinventing the Sacred. Kauffman was talking about some experiments with self replicating RNA molecules and how when you reach a threshold complexity of the molecules themselves, once the chains have a codon sequence that can independently put proteins together, then all kinds of crazy shit starts happening. Its amazing and exciting stuff, wish I could back it up with some journal articles.
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Jasper

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2008, 10:37:11 pm »
Most perturbatory.  It reminds me of that fungus found inside chernobyl's reactor that uses gamma radiation as a food source.

I haven't heard of that. Thats pretty cool too. Still, its a fungus, so that was a secondary addition...

Which is a cool thought, too. It means that things like chemosynthesis and radiosynthesis aren't as difficult to derive as we may think.

I read that the fungus was using melanin the same way plants use chlorophyll.  Freaky shit.

Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 10:41:38 pm »
Most perturbatory.  It reminds me of that fungus found inside chernobyl's reactor that uses gamma radiation as a food source.

I haven't heard of that. Thats pretty cool too. Still, its a fungus, so that was a secondary addition...

Which is a cool thought, too. It means that things like chemosynthesis and radiosynthesis aren't as difficult to derive as we may think.

I read that the fungus was using melanin the same way plants use chlorophyll.  Freaky shit.

Okay, the radiosynthetic fungus I can believe, but for this one :cn:.

As far as I know, there are no photosynthetic fungus.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2008, 10:44:24 pm »
You make some interesting points Kai, about looking elsewhere for our beginning.  I will have to go and contemplate. 

Interesting find discovery.
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Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2008, 10:48:10 pm »
http://unitedcats.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/major-biological-discoveryinside-the-chernobyl-reactor/

Citation Granted.

OFUK Now I see!  :fap:

Very very very cool.

That...thats actually more cool that deep cave living radiosynthetic bacterium.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2008, 11:00:56 pm »
Actually, while that is cool, I am still not completly satisfied. I can't find a link to a peer reviewed journal, and the articles only hint at the possibility of there being a melanin radiosynthetic pathway.

Do you know of one?
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Jasper

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2008, 11:05:01 pm »
Flores, Graciela. "Radiation: it's what's for dinner.(SAMPLINGS)(black fungus Cladosporium sphaerospermum)(Brief article)." Natural History 116.7 (Sept 2007): 14(1). Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. Canada Community College. 13 Oct. 2008

Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2008, 11:31:46 pm »
Sorry, Natural History, the magazine publication of the National Museum of Natural History, while a good publication, is not peer reviewed.
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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2008, 11:33:11 pm »
Huh.  My database seems to think it is.  Oh well.

Kai

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Re: Behold, our ancestors.
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2008, 11:46:08 pm »
Huh.  My database seems to think it is.  Oh well.

To be completely honest, I had to check some lists myself, because I wasn't sure. Nature is on there, but I couldn't find Natural History on any lists.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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