New Bacteria discovered in Mono LakeHow exciting is it for an extremophile bacteria to incorporate arsenic in its biochemicals rather than the usual phosphorus? Wouldn't it be interesting to find...

New Bacteria discovered in Mono Lake

How exciting is it for an extremophile bacteria to incorporate arsenic in its biochemicals rather than the usual phosphorus? Wouldn't it be interesting to find life elsewhere based on an entire different plan?

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When I first heard about this discovery, my first thought was how very little we really know about the universe compared to how much there is to know. Unlocking its secrets will continue to intrigue us and drive scientific research. The need to know and understand that which we do not know and understand is part of human nature and has been since the beginning of human history. Some say it is an intellectual attempt to figure out and understand the very mind of God. Whatever the impulse, we cannot seem to rest while there are discoveries to make.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first I thought that it was not really relevant since they had to "train" the bacteria to use the arsenic.  But then I realized that isn't the point -- the point is that it's possible that life might have evolved somewhere else using elements we wouldn't have thought possible.

Does this really change anything, though, in terms of the possibility of life on other planets in the solar system?  I'm thinking not since it isn't a lack of phosphorus that keeps other planets lifeless.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Isn't it exciting though to consider new ways that life can be created and sustained?! I wonder if we will come across any other examples of life evolving through other elements that we did not think could be used to sustain life... It may not be too 'way out,' for if you watch some documentaries such as Supersize Me it appears this is already happening - large swathes of the American population are sustained by only junk food and have evolved accordingly :-)

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think we're really on the edge of something here, and this particular discovery is just the tip of the iceberg.  I think in our lifetimes we're going to learn and understand much, much more about the universe, life and its origins.  The overriding question, to me, is how and for what will we use this new knowledge.  It seems the possibilities are endless.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Listen to the excitement and educated thinking that this discovery has caused in us. These discoveries must inspire true scientists even more, and with every new discovery that scientists make it's quite possible they will stumble across even more startling discoveries. Some of these could be life changing.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There may be life elsewhere, but I am not sure that we will ever really find it. How would we know? If the life is microscopic, it would be hard to see. If it is located far away on some distant planet, I doubt we will ever know. However, I also don't think it's possible that there is no life out there.
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My first thought when I see these kinds of things is--people are really studying that?!? I guess, as mentioned above, human curiosity has no bounds, and I'm thankful people still want to discover. As also mentioned above, though, I wonder how this helps or advances anything?

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I always find new discoveries like this to be intriguing and interesting, my question though is how does this help us? Will this new knowledge lead to any medical breakthroughs that may help cure or treat disease.

bickemanne-a | Student

This potentially helps us realize how much true "science" is still left out in the worlds for us to find. The bacteria living in Mono Lake is proof of how little we know. I indeed see that we becoming more intellectual and academically brilliant is leading us to the discoveries of our very core of life. What brilliance the human race's Scientists have brought to us all! I cannot wait to find yet even more discoveries of science that have not yet been founded. There is so much to be learned in Mono Lake alone, and just imagine-Mono Lake is literally smaller than an atom compared to the 28 Billion Lightyears of space and Universe around us. This is simply remarkable in my eyes as a Biology Major!

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