It appears you have not yet registered with our community. To register please click here.

Origin XT RPG Network Home

Building Blocks of Life, Aliens


Dec 3 2010, 04:25 AM (Post #1)
Lieutenant
* * * * *
Posts: 894
Cash: -4,376 / 3,952
Group: Citizen
Joined: 12/18/07 07:25 AM
Really, I'm not kidding. All living organisms require six basic elements: Sulfur, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen. Well, NASA has discovered a bacteria that replaces Phosphorus with...Arsenic. Yes, that Arsenic.

This throws the entire basis of biological sciences into review: how could an organism survive, thrive, and actually require Arsenic? How could there be an organism whose actual DNA basis is different from all other known life forms on earth?

Anyway, I thought this was fascinating, and it might lead to some fascinating science going forward.

http://blog.speculist.com/2010/12/new-life...discovered.html
Post Options

 
Dec 5 2010, 04:39 AM (Post #2)
Not Odd anymore
* * * * * * * * * *
Posts: 45,875
Cash: 1,915,578 / 1,817,041,051
Group: Administrator
Joined: 7/10/02 09:48 PM
I don't think it's that surprising. Arsenic and phosphorous belong to the same group, so it's as surprising as discovering organisms made of Silicon instead of Carbon.
Post Options

Dec 5 2010, 08:17 PM (Post #3)
Lieutenant
* * * * *
Posts: 894
Cash: -4,376 / 3,952
Group: Citizen
Joined: 12/18/07 07:25 AM
QUOTE (Jinghao @ Dec 4 2010, 11:39 PM)
I don't think it's that surprising. Arsenic and phosphorous belong to the same group, so it's as surprising as discovering organisms made of Silicon instead of Carbon.
*



Umm. Except this makes the only organism ever discovered in all the world who has this fundamental difference in DNA structure. Out of the tens of millions discovered. The only one. So it's not surprising, per se, but...well, yes it is quite surprising. I don't understand how more people don't understand the magnitude of this discovery.
Post Options

Dec 6 2010, 04:42 AM (Post #4)
Commander in Chief
* * * * * * * *
Posts: 5,699
Cash: 2,145,476,571 / 2,147,483,647
Group: Representative
Joined: 12/23/06 04:45 AM
"Surprising" is relative. Given the nothing I know about biochemistry, it's certainly not beyond the imagination. Given that they've found an organism that's fundamentally different from every other one that's been discovered is pretty exciting. If alien life were discovered, however, it wouldn't be all that surprising if it had a very different make-up.
Post Options

Dec 6 2010, 07:35 AM (Post #5)
Lieutenant
* * * * *
Posts: 894
Cash: -4,376 / 3,952
Group: Citizen
Joined: 12/18/07 07:25 AM
Related, and hilarious: http://xkcd.com/829/
Post Options

Dec 6 2010, 08:28 AM (Post #6)
Not Odd anymore
* * * * * * * * * *
Posts: 45,875
Cash: 1,915,578 / 1,817,041,051
Group: Administrator
Joined: 7/10/02 09:48 PM
QUOTE (Jodi Gajadar @ Dec 5 2010, 12:17 PM)
Umm. Except this makes the only organism ever discovered in all the world who has this fundamental difference in DNA structure. Out of the tens of millions discovered. The only one. So it's not surprising, per se, but...well, yes it is quite surprising. I don't understand how more people don't understand the magnitude of this discovery.
*


It's actually surprising that it's coded in DNA too (albeit using arsenic in place of phosphorous).
Post Options

Dec 9 2010, 03:05 AM (Post #7)
Nutricious Banana
* * * *
Posts: 738
Cash: 44,948 / 68,948
Group: Citizen
Joined: 8/13/07 06:56 PM
This is very surprising for me. I wonder how the arsenic use evolved. Also, are the arsenic-containing molecules still functional, or does the bacterium have some with only phosphorus?

The title is misleading, though. The bacterium doesn't need arsenic. It normally uses phosphorus and grows better with phosphorus, but it can tolerate arsenic.

Edit: link to article:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/20...science.1197258

Edit#2: Looks like scientists are questioning the claims in the original article.
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101207/full/468741a.html

This post has been edited by Tricia: Dec 9 2010, 05:36 AM
Post Options

Dec 9 2010, 03:09 AM (Post #8)
Not Odd anymore
* * * * * * * * * *
Posts: 45,875
Cash: 1,915,578 / 1,817,041,051
Group: Administrator
Joined: 7/10/02 09:48 PM
QUOTE (Tricia @ Dec 8 2010, 07:05 PM)
This is very surprising for me. I wonder how the arsenic use evolved. Also, are the arsenic-containing molecules still functional, or does the bacterium have some with only phosphorus?

The title is misleading, though. The bacterium doesn't need arsenic. It normally uses phosphorus and grows better with phosphorus, but it can tolerate arsenic.

Edit: link to article:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/20...science.1197258
*


^ Biochem expert

Yeah listen to Tricia stongue.gif

Post Options

Dec 9 2010, 03:14 AM (Post #9)
Nutricious Banana
* * * *
Posts: 738
Cash: 44,948 / 68,948
Group: Citizen
Joined: 8/13/07 06:56 PM
QUOTE (Jinghao @ Dec 8 2010, 07:09 PM)
^ Biochem expert

Yeah listen to Tricia stongue.gif
*


Why, thanks. stongue.gif *bows*

>_> How did you reply so quickly? Are you on Origin 24/7 or something? STALKER! stongue.gif
Post Options

Dec 9 2010, 05:12 PM (Post #10)
Lieutenant
* * * * *
Posts: 894
Cash: -4,376 / 3,952
Group: Citizen
Joined: 12/18/07 07:25 AM
Figures, NASA gets the lay public (myself included) all worked up prematurely. I feel put over.
Post Options

Dec 9 2010, 06:04 PM (Post #11)
Not Odd anymore
* * * * * * * * * *
Posts: 45,875
Cash: 1,915,578 / 1,817,041,051
Group: Administrator
Joined: 7/10/02 09:48 PM
QUOTE (Tricia @ Dec 8 2010, 07:14 PM)
Why, thanks. stongue.gif *bows*

>_> How did you reply so quickly? Are you on Origin 24/7 or something? STALKER! stongue.gif
*


Just happened to go on Origin stongue.gif
Post Options

Dec 11 2010, 07:43 PM (Post #12)
Nutricious Banana
* * * *
Posts: 738
Cash: 44,948 / 68,948
Group: Citizen
Joined: 8/13/07 06:56 PM
QUOTE (Jodi Gajadar @ Dec 9 2010, 09:12 AM)
Figures, NASA gets the lay public (myself included) all worked up prematurely. I feel put over.
*


Me, too! None of the news articles I saw link to the original article. The abstract (the only part that is free to read if you don't have access to a subscription) is misleading, and journalists probably just based their stories on this or other sensationalized news articles. It's like how the cure to cancer and AIDS is discovered every other day. swink.gif
Post Options

Dec 13 2010, 05:13 AM (Post #13)
Lieutenant
* * * * *
Posts: 894
Cash: -4,376 / 3,952
Group: Citizen
Joined: 12/18/07 07:25 AM
QUOTE (Tricia @ Dec 11 2010, 02:43 PM)
...sensationalized news articles. It's like how the cure to cancer and AIDS is discovered every other day. swink.gif
*



Or, like today, how the Metrodome Collapsed! which, in fact, meant that part of the roof caved in at the Metrodome under heavy snow. Ugh. Journalists are supposed to keep the "experts" honest, not the other way around.
Post Options