Everything Just Changed

85 Dwarf Shaman
4265
http://gizmodo.com/5704158/nasa-finds-new-life



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
Edited by Shemhazai on 12/2/2010 8:34 AM PST
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90 Blood Elf Mage
9055
Bring on the aliens!
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85 Goblin Death Knight
7020
Whats so misleading about this article?
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85 Dwarf Shaman
4265
Gizmodo is the tabloid version? I wouldn't have even considered that, it's the link that both Slashdot and my astrophysicist cousin gave to me. Also; Yeah, whats misleading?
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90 Blood Elf Mage
9055
All this means to me is that scientists now have a new angle to approach everything they've ever "known" from. It doesn't mean everything has changed. It may, one day...but this is just a new concept for biology as we know it.

Stay tuned for more advances in the next few years, this will be the harbinger of many new ideas and discoveries.
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85 Dwarf Shaman
4265
I just watched the entire news conference from the NASA feed and I guess I could see where this article is a little over the top, the Bacteria is not even close to made entirely of arsenic. But still super cool. Fascinating stuff and cool to imagine what else could be out there.
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85 Worgen Warrior
5430
Good thing I got a C in Biology class.
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85 Goblin Death Knight
7020
It doesn't say anything about the lifeform being entierly arsenic. It states that the organism is composed of arsenic in the place of phosphorus, which is like nothing they have ever seen before.
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90 Draenei Priest
6320
The article you provided is terrible and plays to the sensationalist angle too much. Here is the epub from Science today.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/01/science.1197258

This topic will have a lot of appeal, but until this is looked into further I would hold off on the "everything just changed" stuff.

edit to fix broken link

Edited by Univrslheals on 12/2/2010 1:52 PM PST
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85 Dwarf Shaman
4265
Most of you guys are all serious downers =D


I guess I forgot that the entire point of game forums was to take the air out of people's balloons. ;)


I mean, I have a hard time seeing how you guys don't think this discovery has greatly changed biological science as we know it. This little bug has manged to supplement a basic building block of life without poisoning itself. Sure there are more tests and proofs that have to be done... but essentially this means that the rules about the basic building blocks of life are not as definite as we once thought. If this little guy has learned how to replace one block with another, what else could different cells replace.
We've already found billions of systems that can support earth-like planets, as well as a number of actual earth-like planets. However, if what this little bug can do can or has been replicated by other organisms the possibilities for what kinds of celestial bodies could support life have expanded even further.

It changes a whole hell of a lot, that's for sure. And who the hell cares if its sensationalist? In this world of ours today, full of crap and BS, getting people excited about science is just a god awful idea -- right?
Edited by Shemhazai on 12/2/2010 2:03 PM PST
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90 Gnome Warlock
8625
Mayhaps some people should lie in the polluted lake where they found this organism... we'll either get "special" superheroes or fewer people on the roads?
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85 Tauren Paladin
9805
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.


So it was thought to be impossible, but thought to be possible?

The mind boggles at the circle logic these idiots use. Reading comprehension for the win...Right?

I seem to remember a similar discovery in the Galapagos Islands 20 years ago. o_O
Edited by Ashrial on 12/2/2010 4:18 PM PST
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85 Goblin Shaman
10090
You people are dweebs. I mean, I'm just saying...
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85 Goblin Rogue
4645
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiology_toxic_chemical.html

TRUSTED SITE.
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85 Goblin Priest
7365
Bio nut in my chem lab was freaking out over this, saying that it's a new look and that Arsenic and DNA don't mix well... except in this case. Also something about how it reverts the "phosphorus is necessary for life" which until now was generally thought to be true (...or so i'm told. Last i looked at bio was nearly a decade ago >.>)

Guess now if we throw arsenic into our environment it won't kill Everything; just mostly everything...
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90 Draenei Priest
6320
Most of you guys are all serious downers =D

Not a downer, I have just worked in biology for over 15 years, have my MD PhD and in that time I have learned to hold off on "oh my God this science is amazing!" because more often than not great finds turn out to be not so great in the end.

I mean, I have a hard time seeing how you guys don't think this discovery has greatly changed biological science as we know it.

There are other examples of organisms, eukaryotic organisms even, that live in extreme environments, perform amazing functions on a daily basis as part of life. Most of the time it ends at that since they are just "simple" organisms - and often they turn into tools to help biologist do their work. i.e. taq polymerase

It changes a whole hell of a lot, that's for sure. And who the hell cares if its sensationalist? In this world of ours today, full of crap and BS, getting people excited about science is just a god awful idea -- right?

It changes very little at the moment until further studies can show something of importance based on the find. We already know with relative certainty that the universe contains mostly the same amino acids we have here on earth. Meteorites from ages ago that are found often have those amino acids in them, from billions of years ago. Also, I am all for science, its a great idea and I wish more Americans understood more than a 8th grader when it came to the sciences in general. Not only would it put the US back on track as a leading producer of great scientists and inventions, it would increase funding for sciences in general. The NIH isnt exactly rolling in the dough these days in case you dont know. The San Francisco Bay area where I am from has long been a hub of scientific research and the unemployment rate for scientists here is pretty high at the moment.


PS - thanks for at least posting it on the forum, healthy discussions are always fun ,too. At least for a nerd like me.
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