NASA discovers new form of life in toxic US lake

275x250.jpg Researchers at NASA say they've discovered a new form of life which is alien to anything else living on plant Earth.

The bizarre bacteria, catchily called GFAJ-1, was discovered in the toxic waters of Mono Lake in California and is able to thrive on arsenic - and incorporate it into their DNA.

This means the bacteria is radically different to all other life on Earth which is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur.

Boffins say the new form of "weird life" has huge implications for the search for extraterrestrial life as we now know habitable planets do not need to conform to what we previously thought… that means there could be intelligent life in Birmingham.

275x250.jpg "The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington.

"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 astrobiology research fellow Felisa Wolfe-Simon added: "Our findings are a reminder that life as we know it could be much more flexible than we generally assume or imagine.

"If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven't seen yet? Now is the time to find out."

LINKS
NASA     
Arizona State University   
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