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"Underground Galapagos" excites scientists

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Whether small worms found in the depths of a mine in South America or microorganisms discovered to 6 km depth in China, underground lifestyles are everywhere. "We are making incredible discoveries about the nature and distribution of microbial life in the deep," said Robert Hazen, executive director of the Deep Carbon Observatory Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution.

"If one is a few inches or many miles from the surface, there is microbial life wherever you go," he said. "One drill deep holes, one approaches the nucleus and there are microbes living in the rocks, he said.

The Deep Carbon Observatory was set up to analyze the amounts, sources and carbon movements within the Earth. Scientists say that microbes found in oceanic crust and sedimentary layers that lie beneath could play an important role in microbial diversity inserting themselves into the genome of microorganisms. "is a intriguing part of evolution," said John Baross, professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"depths below the surface may have acted as a natural laboratory for the origin of life in which many experiments could have been made as a tandem," he said. "It has everything you need for life including energy, water, carbon-rich molecules that could have made subsurface soil than the planet, the cradle of the first life on Earth, "he said." We can find completely new life forms at greater depths, higher temperatures and pressures. Quite possibly life in the depths not use DNA and proteins as they do normal cells, "he said. Variety of bacteria and viruses that live in the kingdom of darkness has been described by scientists as a" Underground Galapagos. "Mark Lever, Center for Geomicrobiology, University of Aarhus, Denmark, said microorganisms in the Earth's crust use hydrogen to convert carbon dioxide into organic material.

Though the vast ecosystem is likely and mainly based on hydrogen, several different forms of life exist in this extreme environment, Lever said in a study published Friday in the Journal of Science. Finding life in the harshest environments on Earth could give an idea of life on other planets, such as Mars. Researchers at the University of Maryland studying microorganisms in a salt lake in Antarctica on behalf of the U.S. space agency NASA, subtle variations found extremophile bacteria proteins compared with those of common microorganisms. variations could enable survive in environments such as Mars, remarkable for the extreme temperatures and high salinity, according to a study published in PLoS One.

Thanks to Elcomercio.com for this article.