NASA has discovered a new life form—called GFAJ-1—that doesn't share the biological building blocks of anything currently living in planet Earth. It's capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This changes everything. Updated.This is huge. It is alien life that either developed in isolation from the rest of life on this planet for the last 3.8 BILLION years (unlikely) or it is literally alien in origin. Here is the NASA story by Dwayne Browne and Cathy Weselby. They write:
NASA is saying that this is "life as we do not know it". The reason is that 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.
In a surprising discovery, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon and her team have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the newly discovered microorganism—called GFAJ-1 and found in Mono Lake, California—uses the poisonous arsenic for its building blocks.
"The idea of alternative biochemistries for life is common in science fiction," said Carl Pilcher, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "Until now a life form using arsenic as a building block was only theoretical, but now we know such life exists in Mono Lake."We will see how this gets picked up by different organizations in the next few weeks. It has amazing implications for exobiology.
Now playing: Ira Stein & Russel Walder - Medieval Memory II