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Silica deposits on Mars with features resembling hot spring biosignatures
On Mars, atmospheric methane—a sign of life on Earth—changes mysteriously with the seasons
By Eric HandJan. 3, 2018 , 4:52 PM

[Image: ca_0105NID_Curiosity_online.jpg?itok=t9IYDEsa]
During its 5-year sojourn on Mars, the Curiosity rover has repeatedly sniffed the air for methane.


From the pasture to the swamp, methane emissions on Earth are the effluvia of life. So what are whiffs of the gas doing on barren Mars? Trace detections of the stuff, alongside glimpses of larger spikes, have fueled debates about biological and nonbiological sources of the gas. Last month, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in New Orleans, Louisiana, NASA scientists announced a new twist in the tale: a seasonal cycle in the abundance of martian methane, which regularly rises to a peak in late northern summer.
"The thing that's so shocking here is this large variation," said Chris Webster, who leads the methane-sensing instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover. "We're left trying to imagine how we can create this seasonal variation," says Webster, who is at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
It is a variation on a very faint theme. Since landing in 2012, Curiosity has on 30 occasions opened a few valves to the martian night and taken a sniff of the thin, frigid air. In a small, mirrored chamber, it shines a laser through the air sample and measures the absorption at specific wavelengths that indicate methane. At the meeting, Webster reported vanishingly small background levels of the gas: 0.4 parts per billion (ppb), compared with Earth's 1800 ppb.
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Where that whiff comes from is the heart of the mystery. Microbes (including those that live in the guts of cows and sheep) are responsible for most of Earth's methane, and Mars's could conceivably come from microbes as well—either contemporary microbes or ancient ones, if the methane they produced was trapped underground. But methane can also be made in ways that have nothing to do with biology. Hydrothermal reactions with olivine-rich rocks underground can generate it, as can reactions driven by ultraviolet (UV) light striking the carbon-containing meteoroids and dust that constantly rain down on the planet from space.
Now, add to the methane puzzle the seasonal variation Curiosity has detected, with levels cycling between about 0.3 ppb and 0.7 ppb over more than two martian years. Some seasonality is expected in an atmosphere that is mostly carbon dioxide (CO2), says François Forget, who models the climate of Mars at the Laboratory of Dynamical Meteorology in Paris. In the southern winter, some of that CO2 freezes out onto the large southern polar cap, making the overall atmosphere thinner. That boosts the concentration of any residual methane, which doesn't freeze, and by the end of northern summer this methane-enriched air makes its way north to Curiosity's location, Forget says. Seasonal variations in dust storms and levels of UV light could also affect the abundance of methane, if interplanetary dust is its primary source.
But, Webster said at the meeting, the seasonal signal is some three times larger than those mechanisms could explain. Maybe the methane—whatever its source—is absorbed and released from pores in surface rocks at rates that depend on temperature, he said. Another explanation, "one that no one talks about but is in the back of everyone's mind," is biological activity, says Mike Mumma, a planetary scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "You'd expect life to be seasonal."
The seasonal wiggles are a mystery within a larger mystery: claims of occasional methane spikes an order of magnitude or two higher than the background. Mumma and his colleagues reported one of the largest in 2009, when they detected spectral signs of a 45-ppb methane plume through a telescope in Hawaii. Curiosity, too, has detected a handful of spikes, to about 7 ppb. For these events, Webster favors the idea of a sudden release from a deep underground source.
Other scientists are looking skyward. Marc Fries, the cosmic dust curator at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, says the source of methane spikes could be the hail of tiny meteors that falls when a planet crosses a comet's orbit and sweeps up carbon-rich dust and debris shed by the comet. Fries says that as the dust particles vaporize at altitudes of tens of kilometers, the same chemical reaction that produces methane from interplanetary dust at the surface would take place more quickly, driven by the stronger UV light at high altitudes. All the claimed methane spikes over the past 2 decades occurred within about 2 weeks of a known martian meteor shower, Fries and his colleagues found. "It could be a cause, and it could be a coincidence," he says.
Skeptics say the atmospheric reactions may not occur quickly enough and that meteor showers don't deposit much more material than the background flux of interplanetary dust. In 2014, when Mars nearly collided with comet Siding Spring, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft was watching, monitoring magnesium ions as a proxy for dust dumped in the upper atmosphere. The MAVEN team reckons the encounter put 16 tons of material into the martian atmosphere—not much more than the 3 tons of interplanetary dust estimated to fall daily, and much less than the tens of thousands of tons that Fries says are needed to make a large methane plume. "I don't see how it's possible to produce the methane abundance he needs," says Matteo Crismani, a MAVEN science team member and postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. But Fries contends that meteor showers are highly variable, and just because the Siding Spring encounter was close does not mean it was rich in dust and debris.
It happens that Fries will have a chance to test the hypothesis. On 24 January, Mars will have a close brush—less than a tenth of the Earth-moon distance—with the orbit of comet C/2007 H2 Skiff. Mumma is skeptical about Fries's idea, but he will nevertheless be watching for methane with his telescope in Hawaii in the days after the encounter. The MAVEN and Curiosity teams also plan to watch. "This is a great opportunity to test this hypothesis," Crismani says.
One spacecraft won't quite be ready to participate—even though it is best positioned overall to resolve the methane debate. In April, the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) will settle into its final orbit and begin science observations, mapping concentrations of methane across the planet. Atmospheric dust will probably prevent the orbiter from reaching its originally advertised sensitivity of several tens of parts per trillion, says Geronimo Villanueva, a science team member at Goddard. But he expects the TGO to approach Curiosity's sensitivity—and its ability to hunt for methane sources in space and time will be unrivaled. The "TGO will allow us to search for this molecule with new eyes," he says.
Posted in: doi:10.1126/science.aas9070
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
If ever a house is favorable to have a chance @ life,what are the odds it won't...
Mars was as House Favour is.

Quote:Whether ExoMars hits the jackpot remains to be seen, but at the very least it will mark a new beginning for the search for life on Mars.

Rover could discover life on Mars – here's what it would take to prove it

January 5, 2018 by Claire Cousins, The Conversation

[Image: rovercoulddi.jpg]
Mars seen by Viking. Credit: NASA / USGS

Finding past or present microbial life on Mars would without doubt be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. And in just two years' time, there's a big opportunity to do so, with two rovers launching there to look for signs of life – Mars2020 by NASA and ExoMars by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos.

I am helping to develop one of the instruments for the ExoMars rover, which will be Europe's first attempt to land a mobile platform on the red planet. It will also be the first rover to drill into the martian crust to a depth of two metres.
But the rover will not be the first to look for evidence of life. The Viking landers sent by NASA in the 1970s carried experiments designed to so. They were ultimately unsuccessful, but provided a wealth of information about Mars' geology and atmosphere that comes in handy now. In fact, exploration over the last half-century has shown us that early Mars was once a dynamic and potentially habitable planet.
While it is not completely impossible that life could exist on Mars today, ExoMars is primarily focused on looking for extinct life. Because there's a risk it could contaminate the planet with microbes from Earth, it is not allowed to go near the sites where we think it's possible that microbes could exist today.
Chemofossils are the best bet
On Earth, life constantly unfurls around us, leaving its mark on our planet every day. There are, however, a number of factors to contend with when looking for life on Mars. The first is that the lifeforms we are looking for are single-celled microorganisms, invisible to the naked eye. This is because life on Mars is unlikely to have progressed any further down the evolutionary path. This is actually not so strange – Earth itself was a world of single-celled life for two billion years or more.
[Image: 1-rovercoulddi.jpg]
ExoMars prototype rover. Credit: Mike Peel/wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Another issue is that the life we're looking for would have existed three or four billion years ago. A lot can happen in that time – rocks preserving this evidence can be eroded away and redeposited, or buried deep beyond reach. Luckily, Mars does not have plate tectonics – the constant shifting about and recycling of the crust that we have on Earth – which means it's a geological time capsule.

Because we are looking for evidence of long-dead microorganisms, the hunt for bio-signatures lies in the detection and identification of organic "chemofossils" – compounds that are left behind by the decomposition of life. These are different to organic compounds delivered to planets on the backs of meteorites, or those, such as methane, that can be produced by both geological and biological processes. No single compound will prove life once existed.
Rather, it will be distinctive patterns present in any organic compounds discovered that betray their biological origin. Lipids and amino acids, for example, are fundamental components to living things, but are also found in certain meteorites. The difference lies in finding evidence that shows a process of selection. Lipids left behind by degraded cell membranes will likely have a limited size range, and comprise an even number of carbons. Similarly, amino acids naturally exist in both left-handed and right-handed forms (like gloves), but for some reason life only uses the left-handed ones.
It is also possible for microorganisms to produce visible fossils in the rock record. When conditions allow, microbial mats (multilayered communities of microorganisms) can become interspersed with fine sediment, producing characteristic morphological structures in rocks that form subsequently. However, the specific environmental conditions required for this mean such deposits are unlikely to be discovered by a rover exploring just one small region of a whole planet.
So, the best bet will be looking for organic compounds, a task which falls to the Mars Organic Molecule Analyser (MOMA) – the largest instrument in the ExoMars rover payload.
[Image: 2-rovercoulddi.jpg]
Microbial mat on Earth. Credit: Alicejmichel/wikipedia, CC BY-SA
One intriguing finding from the Viking landers was the absence of detectable organic compounds at the martian surface. This was unexpected – many organic compounds are found throughout the solar system that do not form through biological activity. Subsequent missions revealed that a combination of harsh chemistry and intense radiation effectively remove much of the organic material from the surface of Mars, regardless of its origin.
But more recently NASA's Curiosity rover has begun to find some simple organic compounds, hinting at what may lie beneath. By analysing samples brought up from below the surface, MOMA will have a better shot at finding those organic biosignatures that have survived the ravages of time.
Confusing contamination
Before any search for biosignatures even begins, however, ExoMars will first need to find the right rocks. The landing sites shortlisted for the mission have, in part, been chosen based on their geological characteristics, including their age (more than 3.6 billion years old).
If MOMA identifies organic molecules within the samples brought up by the drill, one of the first things will be to establish whether they are the result of contamination by any rogue Earth-based organics. While ExoMars is looking for alien life, it is designed to look for life that is based on the same fundamental chemistry as life on Earth. On one hand, this means highly sensitive instruments like MOMA can be designed that target biosignatures that we have a good understanding of, and therefore increase the likelihood that ExoMars will be a success.
[Image: 3-rovercoulddi.jpg]
Panorama of Mars taken by the Opportunity rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
The downside is that these instruments are also sensitive to life and organic molecules on Earth. To ensure terrestrial organic or microbiological stowaways are minimised, the rover and its instruments are built and assembled inside ultra clean rooms. Once on Mars, the rover will run a number of "blank" samples, which will show what, if any, contamination may be present.
Ultimately, finding strong evidence of extinct life on Mars, whether it be chemofossils or something more visible, will be just the first step. As with most scientific discoveries, it will be a gradual process, with evidence building up layer by layer until no other explanation exists. If the NASA Mars2020 rover also finds similarly tantalising evidence, then these discoveries will represent a step change in our understanding of life in general. And, while incredibly unlikely, it is of course possible that ExoMars chances upon some living martian microorganisms.
Whether ExoMars hits the jackpot remains to be seen, but at the very least it will mark a new beginning for the search for life on Mars.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Video: Preparing the ExoMars spacecraft for 2016 launch
Provided by: The Conversation

Read more at:


Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

Quote:While it is not completely impossible that life could exist on Mars today, 
ExoMars is primarily focused on looking for extinct life.  Pennywise

Because there's a risk it could contaminate the planet with microbes from Earth  Nonono 
it is not allowed to go near the sites  Tp
where we think it's possible that microbes could exist today  Scream

A fucking waste of time and money.

written by ... Dr. Claire Cousins ... nitwit PhD

she looks like a generic I Phone junkie seen on any college campus, clueless and clownie

[Image: CCousins.jpg]

you gotta be kidding me, she looks like she shops for barbie dolls


here she is trying to be sweet 16 at the age of 25

unfortunate ... completely brainwashed by NASA geared education

Quote:Because there's a risk it could contaminate the planet with microbes from Earth  Nonono 
the Rover is not allowed to go near the sites  Tp
where we think it's possible that microbes could exist today  Scream

Like I have been saying for a LOOOONG Time.

Jazzed Popcorn Ladies
Jazzed Popcorn Lads
Jeeper Peeper Leapers
Jilted Persons Longing
Jizzed Pop Liquorice
Joint Penis Lickoff
Joint Penises Limping
Joint Personal Leagally
Joint Personal Liability
Joint Personal Likability
Joint Pussies Limping
Joint Pussy Lickoff
Jointly Peers Losing
Joker Penises Laughing
Joker Penises Looking
Joker Pirates Laughing
Joker Pirates Looting
Joker Pirates Lusting
Joker Poker Liars
Joker Poker Lying Club
Joker Pussies Laughing
Joker Pussies Looking
Jokingly Presenting Lies
Jolted Pattern Locksteping
Joyfully Peering Lustfully
Joyfully Preserving Lasting
Joyfully Preserving Learning
Joyfully Preserving Life
Joyfully Preserving Listening
Joyfully Preserving Longing
Joyfully Preserving Looking
Joyfully Preserving Lusting
Joyless People Lookers
Joyless Proping Lazies
Joyless Puppets Laceless
Juicy Penises Licking
Juicy Probing Lustness
Juicy Pussies Licking
Just Penises Laughing
Just Plain Lax ?
Just Plain Lazy ?
Just Plain Leachers
Just Plain Liars
Just Plain Lincoln
Just Plain Ludicrous
Just Professional Liars
Just Pussies Laughing
MeanStream Media Mindless Minions Masticating Meaningless Misty Musty Munching Millionaire Moguls Mobsters Misleading Misdirecting Meandering Melodious Mush Missing Much
Nacreous Abalone Shell Amulet
New Angular Spin App - Richard Hoagland
Nootropics Are Standard Above - Kalter
Nasa Admits Seasonal Allergies
Nasal Air Sniffer Apparatus
Nasal Aloof Senseless Aristocrats
Nastiest Angry Scientists Alive / Jokingly Presenting Lies
Nasty Anomaly Scene Airbrush
Nasty Antisocial Swine Association
Naval Aviators Scream Above
Necessary Alternative Same Adversary
Necrotic Aardvark Science Advice
Necrotic Aardvarks Sate Appetites
Nervous Around Stairway Ascension
Nether Abyss Slimy Alien
Never A Space Adventure
Never A Straight Answer
Never Acknowledge Something Absolute
Never Admit Slime Allover
Never Admit Spores Allover
Never Admits Something Anomalous
Never All Shots Acknowledged
Never Announce Something Astonishing
Never Anomaly Shots Acknowledged
Never Any Sense Alright.
Never Any Sensible Answer
Never Any Serious Attention
Never Any Serious Attitude
Never Any Specific Answers
Never Anything Seriously Admitted
Never Anytime Scan Anomalously/ Just Plain Laydown
New Accountability Steps Allover
New Accounting Steps Allover
New Alcohol Sensitivity Abnormalities
New Alien Species Apocalypse
New Alien Specious Accounting
New Alien Spores Allover
New Aliens Shitting Astrobiologists
New Aliens Shitting Astrophysicists
New Analysis Studies Accountable
New Analysis Studies Allover
New Anomalies Shafted Always
New Anomalies Shafted Away
New Anomalies Shifted Always
New Anomalies Shifted Away
New Anomalies Shitted Always
New Anomalies Shitted Away
New Anomaly Secretly Acquired
New Anomaly Shrouded Abundantly
New Anxious Serious Asskisser
New Anxious Serious Asskissing
New Anxious Silly Asskisser
New Anxious Silly Asskissing  
New Anxious Stupid Asskisser
New Anxious Stupid Asskissing  
New Asinine Stall Agreement
New Assumptional Studies Allowed
New Astrobiologists Shilling Arsenic
New Atlantis Seen Afar / Joker Pokers Like Just Pulling Legs
Newly Acquired Secret Anomaly
Newtonian Astrophysical Serendipitous Apple  -EA
Newts Are Succulent Amphibians --KAlter
Nibiru Absent Surveillance Archives
Nice Analysis Seems Absent
Nickers Are Soiled Always
Nixon Abandoned Space Age
No Abode Seems Adequate
No Accountability Serious Anywhere
No Accounting Serious Anywhere
No Adult Supervision Available
No Adult Supervision Available & sidekickers Just Poking Liars  - EA
No Airhead Sensible Adults
No Alien Slime Allowed
Non Actual Simulated Avatar   - EA
New Astronomical Shenanigans Allover & Just Pulling Line -rhw007
No Astrology Student Aware & Just Posting Lyme -rhw007
Nobody Astrologists Shout Absolutes & Jokers Posting Limericks -rhw007
Neanderthal Astrobiologists Suddenly Annihilated & Jointly Painting Lies -rhw007
New Astrobiologists Slinking Adversely & Joined Parting Lines -rhw007
No Alien Space Artifacts
No Alien Spores Allover
No Alien Spores Allowed
No Aliens Seen Above
No Aliens Shitting Astrobiologists
No Aliens Shitting Astrophysicists
No Aloud Shouts Allowed     
No Americans Say Anything / Just Playing Lipservice
No Analysis Serious Anywhere
No Analysis Studies Acceptable
No Analysis Studies Accountable
No Anomalous Samples Acknowledged
No Anomalous Snapshots Aired
No Anomaly Samples Acknowledged
No Anomaly Seen Admitted
No Answer Seems Acceptable
No Answer Sounds Acceptable
No Answers Shinning ANUdiscoveries
No Anymore Serious Asskissing
No Anymore Silly Asskissing  
No Anymore Stupid Asskissing  
No Assumptional Studies Allowed
No Astrobiologists Shilling Arsenic
No Astrobiology Seems Apparent
No Astronauts See Anything
Nobody Anywhere Says Anything
Nobody Asked Soviet Advice   -Kalter Rauch
Nocturnal Aperture Shines Always
Noggin Accidentally Struck Above         -EA
Non Affirming Sidetracked Analysis
Non Aperature System Alter   
Non April Sense Applicable
Non Ascending Science Act
Non Attainable Samples Aquisition
Nootropics Are Standard Above
Northern Azimuth Southern Altitude
Nose Appropriations Snot Abundantly
Nose Appropriations Stick Abundantly
Not A Satanic Altar
Not About Science Anymore
Not About Space Anymore
Not Always Same Agenda
Not Always So Awake
Not Another Spiff Apparition
Not Another Stall Agreement
Not Another Stupid Answer
Not Any Such Anomaly
Not Anybody Says Anything
Not Anymore Serious Asskissers
Not Anymore Silly Asskissers
Not Anymore Stupid Asskissers
Not Anything Seen Alright
Nothing Above Same Ahead
Nothing Answers Serious Allegations / Joker Pokes Lies
Notoriously Ambiguous Scientific Aptitude
Novel Antenna Steers Aliens
Novus Around Stairway Ascends
Now Active Search Application
Now Acts Snake Attacks - EA
Now Admit Slime Allover
Now Admit Spores Allover
Now Alien Slime Allowed
Now Alien Spores Allover
Now Alien Spores Allowed
Now Aliens Shitting Astrobiologists
Now Aliens Shitting Astrophysicists
Now Allowed Shouts Aloud
Now Analysis Studies Accountable
Now Another Senseless Acquisition
Now Another Serious Asskisser
Now Another Serious Asskissing
Now Another Silly Analysis
Now Another Silly Asskisser
Now Another Silly Asskissing  
Now Another Stall Agreement
Now Another Stupid Asskisser
Now Another Stupid Asskissing  
Now Anxious Serious Asskisser
Now Anxious Serious Asskissing
Now Anxious Silly Asskisser
Now Anxious Silly Asskissing  
Now Anxious Stupid Asskisser
Now Anxious Stupid Asskissing  
Now Assumptional Studies Allowed
Now Astrobiologists Shilling Arsenic
New Angular Spin App -EA
Noxious Animosity Space Administration  - Vianova & Kalter
Never Announcing Secrets Anytime / Just Poke & Lie - rhw007
Never Attempted Serious Answers Jokes Poking Lying - rhw007
Never Attempt Something Astounding Jokingly Playing Lipservice - rhw007
Never Attempted Serious Answers Jackass Pokers Limps
Never Attempted Serious Answers Jackass Pokers Lumps
Never Admit Something Alternative Joking Public Laypersons "FAKE NEWS"
Nobody Assfracks Something Anybetter & Jokie Pokie La'nuckledragers "MEANSTREAM NEWS"
Not Always Scientific Analysis - deo
Not Answering Simple Asks - rhw007
New Adventures Stalled Always  /  Just Prolonging Lies  - rhw007
Never Achieve Swiftly Apologies  -rhw007

STOP THE $$$ flow to Nitwits Allowed Nowhere Anywhere / Junior Pubic Liars

And give the $$$ to Elon Musk.  He HAS a REAL BRAIN and doesn't give a rat's ass about 'containing' HUMAN EXPLORATION ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE on Mars.

Fracking government Politicians Prattling Pontificating Pigeon Poop Puffery Philandering Prurient Prostituted Payrolled Profiteers Pirates Phony Pampered  Profundities Pork Barrel Porkers Pokers Puckers Puking Pukes Puke-Mouth Puke-Face Pimps

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Neologisms Assigned Standard Attachments
(01-07-2018, 06:53 PM)Kalter Rauch Wrote: Neologisms Assigned Standard Attachments

Added thank you and attributed

Wish things weren't this bad...but it is.

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Pond scum explains evolution of first animals
January 8, 2018 by Emily Moskal, Astrobiology Magazine,

[Image: pondscumexpl.jpg]
Dickinsonia costata, one of the most common species of the Ediacaran period, moved and fed on seafloor microbe mats. This specimen and its silly putty cast are about 6 centimeters across and from the Nilpena Station of South Australia. Credit: Mary Droser

Microbial mats that existed on sea floors prior to the Cambrian explosion provided the foundation for early animal life to arise, new research looking at trace fossils of that early life has found.

When Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species and for decades thereafter, scientists ascribed the beginning of animal life to the Cambrian, eventually pinned to about 540 million years ago when trilobites and other multicellular organisms emerged in a relatively short timeframe.
In recent years, however, astonishing complexity has been discovered in the period right before the advent of the Cambrian explosion, revising the scientific view of the origins of the most complex, multicellular life on Earth.
"By the time we get to the Cambrian – which has much more familiar organisms – a lot of the evolution had already happened on Earth," says paleobiologist Mary Droser at the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of California, Riverside.
Droser is the lead author of a recently published paper in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences describing the conditions that led to the rise of the earliest animals in the late Ediacaran period (an era that lasted from 635 to 540 million years ago) of the Precambrian, and the stages of evolution that led to their domination. Classification has proven difficult for soft-bodied Ediacara biota, as their remains are encased in some of the oldest rocks on the planet. However, uniting attributes like multicellularity, bilateral body shapes and movement to find food have surfaced in recent years. Droser said it was time to compile and synthesize the published research on the topic.
Although scientists have widely credited the Ediacaran for harboring early animal life, researchers mainly focused on fossil impressions of individual specimens. Droser and her colleagues, James Gehling and Lidya Tarhan, took a different approach by examining microbial textures, evidence of mobility and species associations among fossil beds to gather clues about their ecology and evolution.
By studying how and why early animals settled or moved, scientists can get a glimpse into the lives of these long-gone animals and the adaptions they used to survive, including what kinds of surfaces they colonized and how they traveled and ate.
[Image: 1-pondscumexpl.jpg]
An artist interpretation of an excavated Ediacaran fossil bed measuring 50 centimeters by 100 centimeters depicts the once-common Dickinsonia and sea frond-like organisms. Credit: Michelle Kroll
"One of the things that we look at is evidence of mobility, as opposed to the organism itself," Droser said.

A trove of mobile information can be found about the Ediacaran in trace fossils, in the form of "footprints" left behind by the animals when they moved and interacted with the surrounding environment rather than their actual body parts.
"We're not just looking at the beautiful fossils but everything that's there," Droser says. "It's looking at the weird and unusual things that actually provide a lot of the insight."
Root-like anchors that attached sea fan-like organisms to the substrate, scraping marks left by mollusk-like algae eaters, and mining burrows left by worm-like animals are all examples of the traces these extinct creatures left behind.
Before the ubiquity of predators, sediment mixers and decomposers, what accumulated on the seafloor was not only organic material that fell to the seafloor but also mucus-like layers of microbes coating the sandy bottom called microbial mats. "Think pond scum," says Droser.
The range and diversity of microbial mats that served as the foothold for Ediacara biota would prove even more pivotal to the ecology of these ancient habitats. The mats offered an alternative path from the free-floating lifestyle of microscopic algae and bacteria as something for the new and enterprising species to attach to or feed from on a shifting seafloor. The stability and environmental complexity provided by the sticky mats made the extensive seafloor habitable.
The appearance, diversification, and evolution of Ediacara biota are inextricably linked to these mats. Researchers have found that with the rise of complex animals comes advancements in the microbial mats themselves, revealing the ecological interplay between the species, Droser says.
[Image: 2-pondscumexpl.jpg]
Sprigginia fossils are some of the most complex fossils found in the Ediacaran period. Vaguely resembling soft-bodied trilobites, Sprigginia has a head-like region and repeat-ing segments running the length of its body. Credit: Mary Droser
The advent of mobile taxa played the critical role of colonizing other mats after big disturbances, such as large storms, thereby preventing total community wipe outs. Mobile and immobile animals exploited the textural qualities of the mats representing different microbe brews, from microbial bunching of sediment to bumpy structures that resemble "elephant skin" or "bubble trains".
Microbial textures are a proxy to understanding how sediment, microorganisms and macroorganisms interacted to produce consorts of animals, or assemblages, found in regular association across fossil beds. The Ediacaran stratigraphic record shows three distinct groups of animals that emerged successively – the Avalon, White Sea and Nama assemblages – each with their own strategies to exploit their changing environment, spreading and then waning before many met evolutionary dead ends.
The Ediacaran, replete with explosive diversity, saw the first emergence of successful bilaterial animals that would later give rise to Earth's first vertebrates, mobility, early mollusks, skeletons, plant-like reproduction and population struggles such as competition over resources and space, which are all vital components of modern animal ecosystems today.
"We would argue that the beginning of animal life as we know it begins in the Precambrian," says Droser. "By the time that you get to the Cambrian, all of the major groups are established."
Droser said studying the ecology and evolution before the Cambrian explosion offers key insights into how the early stages of the evolution of complex life may play out on other planets.
"It's much cheaper and easier to go back in time on our own planet and ask," Droser says, "'How did the atmosphere and ocean chemistry interact with the nature of prokaryote, eukaryote and multicellular evolution to produce a planet with this complex green scum around it?"
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Paleontologists discover new fossil organism
More information: Mary L. Droser et al. The Rise of Animals in a Changing Environment: Global Ecological Innovation in the Late Ediacaran, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1146/annurev-earth-063016-015645


Read more at:

Chemists discover plausible recipe for early life on Earth
January 8, 2018, The Scripps Research Institute

[Image: earth.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a fascinating new theory for how life on Earth may have begun.

Their experiments, described today in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrate that key chemical reactions that support life today could have been carried out with ingredients likely present on the planet four billion years ago.
"This was a black box for us," said Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, PhD, associate professor of chemistry at TSRI and senior author of the new study. "But if you focus on the chemistry, the questions of origins of life become less daunting."
For the new study, Krishnamurthy and his coauthors, who are all members of the National Science Foundation/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Center for Chemical Evolution, focused on a series of chemical reactions that make up what researchers refer to as the citric acid cycle.
Every aerobic organism, from flamingoes to fungi, relies on the citric acid cycle to release stored energy in cells. In previous studies, researchers imagined early life using the same molecules for the citric acid cycle as life uses today. The problem with that approach, Krishnamurthy explai20ns, is that these biological molecules are fragile and the chemical reactions used in the cycle would not have existed in the first billion years of Earth—the ingredients simply didn't exist yet.
Leaders of the new study started with the chemical reactions first. They wrote the recipe and then determined which molecules present on early Earth could have worked as ingredients.
The new study outlines how two non-biological cycles—called the HKG cycle and the malonate cycle—could have come together to kick-start a crude version of the citric acid cycle. The two cycles use reactions that perform the same fundamental chemistry of a-ketoacids and b-ketoacids as in the citric acid cycle. These shared reactions include aldol additions, which bring new source molecules into the cycles, as well as beta and oxidative decarboxylations, which release the molecules as carbon dioxide (CO2).
As they ran these reactions, the researchers found they could produce amino acids in addition to CO2, which are also the end products of the citric acid cycle. The researchers think that as biological molecules like enzymes became available, they could have led to the replacement of non-biological molecules in these fundamental reactions to make them more elaborate and efficient.
"The chemistry could have stayed the same over time, it was just the nature of the molecules that changed," says Krishnamurthy. "The molecules evolved to be more complicated over time based on what biology needed."
"Modern metabolism has a precursor, a template, that was non-biological," adds Greg Springsteen, PhD, first author of the new study and associate professor of chemistry at Furman University.
Making these reactions even more plausible is the fact that at the center of these reactions is a molecule called glyoxylate, which studies show could have been available on early Earth and is part of the citric acid cycle today (called the "Glyoxylate shunt or cycle").
Krishnamurthy says more research needs to be done to see how these chemical reactions could have become as sustainable as the citric acid cycle is today.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Scientists find potential 'missing link' in chemistry that led to life on Earth
Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: The Scripps Research Institute

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With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
More Pond Scum??? Arrow
In 'pond scum,' scientists find answers to one evolution's which-came-first cases
January 10, 2018, Boston College

[Image: inpondscumsc.jpg]
Example of a living representative of a primitive moth belonging to the Glossata, moths that bear a proboscid adapted for sucking up fluids, including nectar. Size of the scale bar is 1 cm. Credit: Hossein Rajaei, Museum für Naturkunde
Visiting a colleague in Germany in 2012, Boston College Research Professor Paul K. Strother was examining soil samples for pollen, spores, pieces of plants and insect legs - organic debris that might otherwise have been considered "pond scum" when it was trapped in sediment during cataclysmic earth events 200 million years ago.

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Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth
January 10, 2018, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

[Image: 5a561ffd723e7.jpg]
Blue halite and tweezer tips for scale. Credit: Dr. Queenie Hoi Shan Chan
Two wayward space rocks, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998 after circulating in our solar system's asteroid belt for billions of years, share something else in common: the ingredients for life. They are the first meteorites found to contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids.

A detailed study of the chemical makeup within tiny blue and purple salt crystals sampled from these meteorites, which included results from X-ray experiments at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), also found evidence for the pair's past intermingling and likely parents. These include Ceres, a brown dwarf planet that is the largest object in the asteroid belt, and the asteroid Hebe, a major source of meteorites that fall on Earth.
The study, published Jan. 10 in the journal Science Advances, provides the first comprehensive chemical exploration of organic matter and liquid water in salt crystals found in Earth-impacting meteorites. The study treads new ground in the narrative of our solar system's early history and asteroid geology while surfacing exciting possibilities for the existence of life elsewhere in Earth's neighborhood.
"It's like a fly in amber," said David Kilcoyne, a scientist at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS), which provided X-rays that were used to scan the samples' organic chemical components, including carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. Kilcoyne was part of the international research team that prepared the study.
While the rich deposits of organic remnants recovered from the meteorites don't provide any proof of life outside of Earth, Kilcoyne said the meteorites' encapsulation of rich chemistry is analogous to the preservation of prehistoric insects in solidified sap droplets.
Queenie Chan, a planetary scientist and postdoctoral research associate at The Open University in the U.K. who was the study's lead author, said, "This is really the first time we have found abundant organic matter also associated with liquid water that is really crucial to the origin of life and the origin of complex organic compounds in space."
She added, "We're looking at the organic ingredients that can lead to the origin of life," including the amino acids needed to form proteins.
[Image: 1-ingredientsf.jpg]
A blue crystal recovered from a meteorite that fell near Morocco in 1998. The scale bar represents 200 microns (millionths of a meter). Credit: Queenie Chan/The Open University, UK
If life did exist in some form in the early solar system, the study notes that these salt crystal-containing meteorites raise the "possibility of trapping life and/or biomolecules" within their salt crystals. The crystals carried microscopic traces of water that is believed to date back to the infancy of our solar system - about 4.5 billion years ago.

Chan said the similarity of the crystals found in the meteorites - one of which smashed into the ground near a children's basketball game in Texas in March 1998 and the other which hit near Morocco in August 1998 - suggest that their asteroid hosts may have crossed paths and mixed materials.
There are also structural clues of an impact - perhaps by a small asteroid fragment impacting a larger asteroid, Chan said.
This opens up many possibilities for how organic matter may be passed from one host to another in space, and scientists may need to rethink the processes that led to the complex suite of organic compounds on these meteorites.
[Image: ingredientsf.jpg]
Artist's rendering of asteroids and space dust. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
"Things are not as simple as we thought they were," Chan said.
There are also clues, based on the organic chemistry and space observations, that the crystals may have originally been seeded by ice- or water-spewing volcanic activity on Ceres, she said.
"Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere," Chan said. "There is a great range of organic compounds within these meteorites, including a very primitive type of organics that likely represent the early solar system's organic composition."
Chan said the two meteorites that yielded the 2-millimeter-sized salt crystals were carefully preserved at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas, and the tiny crystals containing organic solids and water traces measure just a fraction of the width of a human hair. Chan meticulously collected these crystals in a dust-controlled room, splitting off tiny sample fragments with metal instruments resembling dental picks.
"What makes our analysis so special is that we combined a lot of different state-of-the-art techniques to comprehensively study the organic components of these tiny salt crystals," Chan said.
[Image: 2-ingredientsf.jpg]
Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt pictured here in this NASA-produced false-color image, may be the source of organic matter found on two meteorites that crashed to Earth in 1998. Credit: NASA
Yoko Kebukawa, an associate professor of engineering at Yokohama National University in Japan, carried out experiments for the study at Berkeley Lab's ALS in May 2016 with Aiko Nakato, a postdoctoral researcher at Kyoto University in Japan. Kilcoyne helped to train the researchers to use the ALS X-ray beamline and microscope.
The beamline equipped with this X-ray microscope (a scanning transmission X-ray microscope, or STXM) is used in combination with a technique known as XANES (X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy) to measure the presence of specific elements with a precision of tens of nanometers (tens of billionths of a meter).
"We revealed that the organic matter was somewhat similar to that found in primitive meteorites, but contained more oxygen-bearing chemistry," Kebukawa said. "Combined with other evidence, the results support the idea that the organic matter originated from a water-rich, or previously water-rich parent body - an ocean world in the early solar system, possibly Ceres."
Kebukawa also used the same STXM technique to study samples at the Photon Factory, a research site in Japan. And the research team enlisted a variety of other chemical experimental techniques to explore the samples' makeup in different ways and at different scales.
Chan noted that there are some other well-preserved crystals from the meteorites that haven't yet been studied, and there are plans for follow-up studies to identify if any of those crystals may also contain water and complex organic molecules.
Kebukawa said she looks forward to continuing studies of these samples at the ALS and other sites: "We may find more variations in organic chemistry."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Unlocking the organic composition of ancient asteroids
More information: "Organic matter in extraterrestrial water-bearing salt crystals," Science Advances (2018).

Journal reference: Science Advances [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Meteorites reveal story of Martian climate
January 10, 2018 by Anne M Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

[Image: meteoritesre.jpg]
New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows that trapped gasses in ancient Martian meteorites pin down the timing and effectiveness of atmospheric escape processes that have shaped Mars’ climate. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Liquid water is not stable on Mars' surface because the planet's atmosphere is too thin and temperatures are too cold. However, at one time Mars hosted a warm and wet surface environment that may have been conducive to life. A significant unanswered question in planetary science is when Mars underwent this dramatic change in climate conditions.

New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) cosmochemist Bill Cassata shows that, by looking at trapped gasses in ancient Martian meteorites, the timing and effectiveness of atmospheric escape processes that have shaped Mars' climate can be pinned down. The research appears in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Cassata analyzed the Martian atmospheric gas xenon (Xe, in two ancient Martian meteorites, ALH 84001 and NWA 7034. The data indicate that early in Martian history there was a sufficient concentration of atmospheric hydrogen to mass fractionated Xe (selectively removed light isotopes) through a process known as hydrodynamic escape. However, the measurements suggest this process culminated within a few hundred million years of planetary formation (more than 4 billion years ago), and little change to the atmospheric Xe isotopic composition has occurred since this time.

This differs significantly from Earth, where Xe isotopic fractionation was a gradual process that occurred throughout much of planetary history, indicating that atmospheric dynamics on the two planets diverged early in the history of the solar system.

The fact that Xe fractionation on Mars ceased more than 4 billion years ago suggests that, on Mars, the hydrogen escape flux did not exceed the threshold required to continuously fractionate atmospheric Xe, as it did on Earth, potentially because Mars did not have sufficient atmospheric water available to generate atmospheric hydrogen via photodissociation.

"These data suggest that liquid water may not have been abundant on the Martian surface since a few hundred million years after planetary formation, and therefore Mars may has been cold and dry planet for the vast majority of its history," Cassata said.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: If past life on Mars existed, it co-evolved with the Martian environment

Journal reference: Earth and Planetary Science Letters [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Finding liquid water's coldest temperature and its singularity
January 10, 2018 by Bob Yirka, [url=]report

[Image: water.jpg]
Credit: George Hodan/public domain
Two teams of researchers working independently of one another have discovered some remarkable features of liquid water—it can be chilled to −42.55°C and it appears to have what is described as a singularity. The first team, made up of members from across Europe, conducted experiments designed to find the lowest temperature at which liquid water can exist. They have published their results in the journal Physical Review Letters. The second team, with members from Sweden, Korea and Japan sought to learn more about the attributes of liquid water when chilled to very low temperatures. They have published their results in the journal Science. Paola Gallo with Università Roma Tre and Eugene Stanley with Boston University offer a Perspective piece on the work done by the two teams in the same Science issue.

While it is true that liquid water normally becomes a solid at 0°C, it is also true that under certain circumstances, liquid water can be much colder than that, such as when it is chilled very quickly—a fast measuring system can take the temperature of the water before it has time to form crystals. But just how cold can it get? Prior theory has suggested the limit is likely −40°C. I this new effort, the researchers found it could go slightly colder than that by injecting very tiny droplets into a vacuum chamber. As the droplets moved through the chamber, some of the water evaporated, causing the temperature of the drop to fall. The team used lasers to measure the change in diameter of the drops to calculate their temperature, and found the new low record of −42.55°C.

Liquid water also has another strange property, according to the researchers with the second effort—the ability to exist in two different liquid states when chilled and to jump between them at a given point, which the team called its singularity. They used a similar setup to the first group, injecting water droplets into a vacuum chamber and shooting them with a laser to measure their temperature, but they found something new. Different parts of the droplets had different densities and sometimes the molecules in the drops seemed to have difficulty deciding which state to occupy, and so moved back and forth, suggesting a singularity state.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: An ultradilute quantum liquid made from ultra-cold atoms

More information: 1. Claudia Goy et al. Shrinking of Rapidly Evaporating Water Microdroplets Reveals their Extreme Supercooling, Physical Review Letters (2018). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.015501 , On Arxiv:

The fast evaporative cooling of micrometer-sized water droplets in vacuum offers the appealing possibility to investigate supercooled water - below the melting point but still a liquid - at temperatures far beyond the state-of-the-art. However, it is challenging to obtain a reliable value of the droplet temperature under such extreme experimental conditions. Here, the observation of morphology-dependent resonances in the Raman scattering from a stream of perfectly uniform water droplets has allowed us to measure with an absolute precision of better than 0.2% the variation in droplet size resulting from evaporative mass losses. This finding proved crucial to an unambiguous determination of the droplet temperature. In particular, a fraction of water droplets with initial diameter of 6379±12 nm were found to remain liquid down to 230.6±0.6 K. Our results question temperature estimates reported recently for larger supercooled water droplets, and provide valuable information on the hydrogen-bond network in liquid water in the hard-to-access deeply supercooled regime.

2. Kyung Hwan Kim et al. Maxima in the thermodynamic response and correlation functions of deeply supercooled water, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8269

Femtosecond x-ray laser pulses were used to probe micrometer-sized water droplets that were cooled down to 227 kelvin in vacuum. Isothermal compressibility and correlation length were extracted from x-ray scattering at the low–momentum transfer region. The temperature dependence of these thermodynamic response and correlation functions shows maxima at 229 kelvin for water and 233 kelvin for heavy water. In addition, we observed that the liquids undergo the fastest growth of tetrahedral structures at similar temperatures. These observations point to the existence of a Widom line, defined as the locus of maximum correlation length emanating from a critical point at positive pressures in the deeply supercooled regime. The difference in the maximum value of the isothermal compressibility between the two isotopes shows the importance of nuclear quantum effects.

Journal reference: Physical Review Letters [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif] Science [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif] arXiv

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New technique for finding life on Mars
January 18, 2018, Frontiers

[Image: 1-newtechnique.jpg]
Co-author I. Altshuler sampling permafrost terrain near the McGill Arctic research station, Canadian high Arctic. Credit: Dr Jacqueline Goordial
Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques to identify and examine microorganisms in the Canadian high Arctic—one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas.

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Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space
January 18, 2018, Portland State University

[Image: virus.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility.

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The early bits of life

January 18, 2018, University of Bristol

[Image: theearlybits.jpg]
Computer image showing the emergence of a spatially organised information niche. A million random interactions within the population leads to selection of certain automata which become located in different parts of the simulated niche (red and blue regions). Credit: University of Bristol
How can life originate before DNA and genes? One possibility is that there are natural processes that lead to the organisation of simple physical objects such as small microcapsules that undergo rudimentary forms of interaction, self-organisation and information processing.

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Crater Neukum named after Mars Express founder
January 18, 2018, European Space Agency

[Image: craterneukum.jpg]
Colour view of Neukum Crater in the Noachis Terra region on Mars. The crater is about 102 km wide and 1 km deep, with two shallow depressions and a dune field in its interior. The crater was named after Gerhard Neukum, who developed the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express. The images were acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express on 31 December 2005, 24 May 2007 and 27 May 2007, corresponding to orbits 2529, 4346 and 4357, respectively. The scene covers the region 26–31°E / 42–47°S.  The colour image was created using data from the nadir channel, the field of view of which is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, and the camera’s colour channels. North is to the right. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
A fascinating martian crater has been chosen to honour the German physicist and planetary scientist, Gerhard Neukum, one of the founders of ESA's Mars Express mission.

The International Astronomical Union named the 102 km-wide crater in the Noachis Terra region "Neukum" in September last year after the camera's leader, who died in 2014. Professor Neukum inspired and led the development of the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express, which helped to establish the regional geology and topography of Mars.

Observations by the camera in December 2005 and May 2007 were used to create the image mosaic of Neukum Crater presented here.

Neukum Crater sits in the Noachis Terra region in the densely cratered southern highlands of Mars, some 800 km to the west of the planet's largest impact basin, Hellas. Noachis Terra is one of the oldest known regions on the Red Planet, dating back at least 3.9 billion years – the earliest martian era, the Noachian epoch, is named after it.

It is representative of the ancient surface of Mars, which is characteristically peppered with craters that have been preserved for billions of years, although many have degraded over time.

Many impact craters in Noachis Terra host dune fields, and in this scene, Neukum Crater displays a particularly interesting pattern with dunes covering an area of about 12 x 17 km in the southeast corner of the crater.

[Image: 1-craterneukum.jpg]
Neukum Crater in context of its surrounds in Noachis Terra. It is situated about 800 km from the western rim of Mars’ largest impact basin Hellas. The region outlined by the large white boxes indicate the area imaged during Mars Express …more
The individual dunes stretch out in a north–south direction, with the dominant slipface towards the west, pointing to a prevailing wind coming from the east. In addition, dark sands have been blown to the west and north of the dunes, indicative of the strong easterly – and some southerly – winds.

The formation of light-toned deposits west of the dune field is unclear: they might be boulders or erosional remnants from the rocky crater interior.

The crater's shallow interior has likely been infilled by sediments over its history. It is also marked with two irregular depressions. Perhaps they are a sign of a weaker material that has since eroded away, leaving behind some islands of more resistant material.

Over time the interior of the crater rim has undergone varying degrees of collapse, with landslides visible in the perspective view. Many smaller craters have also overprinted the rim and pockmarked the interior since Neukum Crater was formed, highlighting its long history.

[Image: 2-craterneukum.jpg]
Perspective view of Neukum Crater, in the Noachis Terra region of Mars. The view highlights the relatively flat crater floor with its two shallow depressions, and striking dark dune field in the southeast corner. The oblique perspective view was generated using data from the HRSC stereo channels. The scene is part of the region imaged on 31 December 2005, 24 May 2007 and 27 May 2007. North is to the left. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Colourful dunes on wind-swept Mars

Provided by: European Space Agency
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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
(01-18-2018, 09:25 PM)EA Wrote:
Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

January 18, 2018, Portland State University

[Image: virus.jpg]

Quote:The newly identified viruses lack the "tail" found on most catalogued and sequenced bacterial viruses, and have several other unusual properties that have led to their being missed by previous studies.

Quote:"...representatives of these elusive viruses, which provide a key missing link in virus evolution and play an important role in regulating bacterial populations, as a new study reports.

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New type of virus found in the ocean
January 24, 2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


[Image: 57e526c98cfd3.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
A type of virus that dominates water samples taken from the world's oceans has long escaped analysis because it has characteristics that standard tests can't detect. However, researchers at MIT and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have now managed to isolate and study representatives of these elusive viruses, which provide a key missing link in virus evolution and play an important role in regulating bacterial populations, as a new study reports.

Viruses are the main predators of bacteria, and the findings suggest that the current view of bacterial virus diversity has a major blind spot. These conclusions have emerged through detailed analysis of marine samples led by MIT postdoc Kathryn Kauffman, professor of civil and environmental engineering Martin Polz, professor Libusha Kelly of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and nine others. The results are being reported this week in the journal Nature.
The newly identified viruses lack the "tail" found on most catalogued and sequenced bacterial viruses, and have several other unusual properties that have led to their being missed by previous studies. To honor that fact, the researchers named this new group the Autolykiviridae—after a character from Greek mythology who was storied for being difficult to catch. And, unlike typical viruses that prey on just one or two types of bacteria, these tailless varieties can infect dozens of different types, often of different species, underscoring their ecological relevance.
This research "opens new avenues for furthering our understanding of the roles of viruses in the ocean," says Jed Fuhrman, the McCulloch-Crosby Chair of Marine Biology at the University of Southern California, who was not involved in this work. "In a practical sense, it also shows how we need to alter some commonly used methods in order to capture these kinds of viruses for various studies," he says. "I'd say it is an important advance in the field."
Current environmental models of virus-bacteria interactions are based on the well-studied tailed viruses, Kauffman explains, so they may be missing important aspects of the interactions taking place in nature.
"We already knew that viruses are very important there," Kauffman says, referring to the surface ocean, where the researchers' samples were drawn, and where about 10 million viruses are found in every milliliter of water. Polz says that while "most of the viruses studied in labs have tails, most of those in the ocean don't." So the team decided to study one subset of tailless viruses, which infects a group of bacteria called Vibrio. After extensive tests, they found "that some of these were infecting unusually large numbers of hosts," he says.


After sequencing representatives of the Autolykiviridae, the researchers found "their genomes were quite different from other viruses," Polz says. For one thing, their genomes are very short: about 10,000 bases, compared to the typical 40,000-50,000 for tailed viruses. "When we found that, we were surprised," he says.

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Itza Chiral Viral in the DNA spirals...

If they missed a whole subset of the oceans population, can a Virus 'infect' space?

Quote:Research by a University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD)
graduate student Mojtaba Fakhraee and Associate Professor Sergei Katsev has Horsepoop

pushed a major milestone in the evolution of the Earth's environment back by about Arrow 250 million years.

Recall: rust starts now.
[Image: marsexpress_face_3D.jpg]

Primordial oceans had oxygen 250 million years before the atmosphere
January 25, 2018 by Valerie Coit, University of Minnesota

[Image: primordialoc.jpg]
Credit: University of Minnesota
Research by a University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) graduate student Mojtaba Fakhraee and Associate Professor Sergei Katsev has pushed a major milestone in the evolution of the Earth's environment back by about 250 million years. While oxygen is believed to have first accumulated in the Earth atmosphere around 2.45 billion years ago, new research shows that oceans contained plentiful oxygen long before that time, providing energy-rich habitat for early life. The results of the two UMD scientists and their co-author Sean Crowe from the University of British Columbia have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

"When tiny bacteria in the ocean began producing oxygen, it was a major turning point and changed the chemistry of the earth," explained Katsev. "Our work pinpoints the time when the ocean began accumulating oxygen at levels that would substantially change the ocean's chemistry and it's about 250 million years earlier than what we knew for the atmosphere. That is about the length of time from the first appearance of dinosaurs till today."
The results are important, according to the authors, because they deepen our understanding of conditions on Earth when all life consisted of single-cell microbes and their metabolisms that we know today were only just emerging.
"This helps us theorize not only about early life on Earth but also about the signatures of life that we might find on other planets," said Fakhraee.
The study conclusions are the result of creating a detailed computer model of chemical reactions that took place in the ocean's sediments. Researchers focused on the cycle of sulfur and simulated the patterns in which three different isotopes of sulfur could combine in ancient sedimentary rocks. By comparing the model results to a large amount of data from ancient rocks and seawater, they were able to determine how sulfur and oxygen levels were linked and constrained the concentrations of oxygen and sulfate in ancient seawater.
"We're trying to reconstruct the functioning of early life and early environments," said Katsev. "No one was really looking at how the isotopic signals that were being generated in the atmosphere and the ocean were being transformed in the sediment. But all that we can observe now is what has been preserved as rocks, and the isotopic patterns could have been modified in the process."
Much of this research builds on the past work of the team members, and the modeling results help put together some of the observations that seemed contradictory. "We've resolved some puzzles in the historical timeline and contradictions that existed in the sulfur isotope records," said Fakhraee.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: World's oldest known oxygen oasis discovered
More information: Mojtaba Fakhraee et al, Sedimentary sulfur isotopes and Neoarchean ocean oxygenation, Science Advances (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701835

Journal reference: Science Advances [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Minnesota

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Great posts man!

Quote:and where about 10 million viruses are found in every milliliter of water

suddenly I can sense that I harbor billions of viruses   Cry 

Well any viruses adhering to a nano pittance of water out in Deep Space ...
They must be pretty tough little critter jitters ...
Somewhere in that mix,
one would assume that an unusual rare virus surviving in deep space,
might even be pathogenic Damned

Your space suit inadvertantly captured a colony of deep space pandemic flu Whip
What a bummer.
You were shipped back out of the mining colony,
under quarantine,
with a severance pay, but no share in the mining profits.
For the next 7 years your health deteriorated,
on the quarantine moon colony in Iapetus,
and then you died.  

Quote:and where about 10 million viruses are found in every milliliter of water

all it takes is one bad apple in ten million ...

and ... poof   Hi

They played Electric Funeral by Black Sabbath on Charon for the colonists ... 
(01-26-2018, 04:03 AM)Vianova Wrote: ...
Quote:and where about 10 million viruses are found in every milliliter of water
and ... poof   Hi
"Maybe,We ARE The Martians"-RCH

Did water-based life originate without water?

January 30, 2018 by Lisa Zyga, feature

[Image: waterparadox.jpg]
Proposed process for formamide synthesis near radioactive mineral deposits on Earth’s surface. Credit: Adam et al. Published in Scientific Reports.
When trying to understand the origins of life on Earth, researchers run into a paradox: while water is an indispensable solvent for all known life forms that exist today, water also inhibits the formation of string-like chains of nucleic acid polymers such as RNA that were likely precursors of life. This raises the question: how could the nucleic acids have formed in the first place? One solution to this "water paradox" is that life may have originated in something other than water, and only later adapted to the presence of water.

"We are fascinated by the possibility that water-based life may have originated without water at all," Zachary Adam, a researcher at Harvard University, told
Adam and others have been investigating a leading candidate for a water alternative called formamide, a clear liquid that consists of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Not only does formamide favor polymer bond formation more than water does, it also reacts with other molecules to form nucleobases, amino acids, and some of the other basic compounds needed to make nucleic acids.
But there is a glaring problem with this proposal: formamide does not occur naturally in any significant quantity anywhere on Earth. Although formamide is widely used in industry as a solvent for making pharmaceuticals and pesticides, all of this formamide is synthetically produced.
Formamide does exist in space, however, which has previously motivated researchers to suggest that it may have been transported to Earth via comets or meteors. But it is unlikely that this scenario could have produced the large, concentrated reservoirs of formamide needed for life's precursors to form.
Now in a new paper published in Scientific Reports, a team of researchers, led by Adam and coauthor Masashi Aono at Keio University and Tokyo Institute of Technology, have demonstrated the possibility that formamide may have been produced in abundance by radiation in some pockets of the early Earth.
In experiments, the researchers irradiated hydrogen cyanide and acetonitrile—two chemicals present on early Earth—with gamma rays. They found that formamide was one of the major products.
Although in their experiments the researchers used a cylinder of cobalt-60 to produce the gamma rays, they suggest that on early Earth the radiation may have come from radioactive mineral deposits (found today on beaches worldwide) or uranium fission zones. Only one region is currently known to contain evidence of a small handful of uranium zones that existed in Earth's geologic history—the Oklo region in Gabon, Africa—but these zones only became active long after life originated.
The researchers calculated that, if similar zones existed 4 billion years ago, a single site could have produced over 6 orders of magnitude more formamide over a given area than that estimated by delivery from comets and meteorites. The results suggest that radioactive mineral deposits can produce enough formamide to accumulate to high concentrations, which could have formed large formamide reservoirs in which nucleic acids could have formed as precursors to the first living organisms.
"Often the problem of the origins of life is considered to be solved if we could understand how prototypical building blocks of life such as biopolymers and metabolites could form in plausible early-Earth environments," Aono said. "But we are not satisfied with this way of thinking. Life should not be treated as a bag full of the building blocks, but should be understood as a complex network of chemical reactions."
As the researchers explain, radiation is particularly unique as an energy source for the origins of life compared to redox chemistry or simple heating. As Adam said, this is because radiation "drives an expansive network of reactions, not just an array of products for an array of inputs."
Of course, the researchers have only showed what could have happened, and not what did happen. In the future, they plan to continue studying all of the possible scenarios for the origins of life and examine the plausibility of each occurring, and see where the evidence leads.
"We are now trying to assess whether the full network of the driven reactions exhibits attributes found across many different scales of complex living systems, such as cellular metabolic networks, population dynamics, and even ecological relationships," Aono said.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Water can be corrosive to life, so what about alternative solvents?
More information: Zachary R. Adam et al. "Estimating the capacity for production of formamide by radioactive minerals on the prebiotic Earth." Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18483-8
Zachary R. Adam et al. "Subsumed complexity: abiogenesis as a by-product of complex energy transduction" Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0348
Related video: Zachary Adam's lecture on "Energy, Entropy, and Complexity on the Prebiotic Earth"

Journal reference: Scientific Reports [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A

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MARS fitz the Bill

[url=]The key role of meteorites in the formation of relevant prebiotic ... › scientific reports › articles
by L Rotelli - ‎2016 - ‎Cited by 6 - ‎Related articles
Dec 13, 2016 - We show that carbonaceous chondrite meteorites actively and selectively catalyze the formation of relevant prebiotic molecules from formamide in ..... of the appearance of life in other planetary bodies that experienced an efficient delivery of carbonaceous chondrite materials, as Mars, Titan or Europa.
Dust Devil Study Could Help Us Understand Mars | UPDATE
Sep 8, 2016 - Awardees are Jackson, “Dust Devil Survey Using an Instrumented UAV”; Steve Swanson, Boise State University Undergraduate Microgravity Research Team; and Mike Callahan, “Investigating Formamide Chemistry under Plausible Prebiotic Conditions.” Dust devils are those ubiquitous swirling columns of ...
Life's Building Blocks Recreated Under Space-Like Conditions ...
Apr 16, 2015 - Researchers have reproduced a wide array of building blocks for life in a prebiotic scenario involving meteorites and the solar wind. They began with formamide, a simple organic compound that's ubiquitous in the universe. Formamide has been detected in galactic centers, star-forming regions, interstellar ...
High-energy chemistry of formamide: A unified mechanism of ...
by M Ferus - ‎2015 - ‎Cited by 55 - ‎Related articles
Jan 20, 2015 - We simulated the high-energy synthesis of nucleobases from formamide during the impact of an ... react with formamide to produce adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil. Based on GC-MS, ..... replenishment induced by impacts upon the Earth and Mars during a heavy bombard- ment. Icarus 221:495–507.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

formamide intiating life forming molecules:

Quote:But there is a glaring problem with this proposal: 
formamide does not occur naturally in any significant quantity anywhere on Earth  Naughty
Formamide does exist in space, however,
 But it is unlikely that this scenario could have produced the large, 

concentrated reservoirs 
of formamide 
needed for life's precursors to form.  Nonono

perhaps fromamides did initiate a variety of life forming molecules ...
but it was when water provided a more universal medium,

Quote:10  million viruses per droplet of water:

evolved across wide expanses of universal space

Great posts man!

perhaps fromamides did initiate a variety of life forming molecules ...
but it was when water provided a more universal medium,

Quote: Wrote:10  million viruses per droplet of water:
"DNA's chiral spine of hydration,"

evolved across wide expanses of universal space

-----------------------Yep. Itza chiral viral in the dna's spirals common sensed spy roll no matter how the die roll.


Friday, May 26th, 2017, 01:16 am (This post was last modified: Friday, May 26th, 2017, 01:55 am by EA.)
Water is an Anomaly.
Recall:  1  Opening Post

A "Crick" in my neck,Ahhh! there's the rub:DNA Hoogsteen rules elementary Watson?
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 02:23 am (This post was last modified: Monday, August 1st, 2016, 11:38 pm by EA.)

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Characteristics of the DNA Double-Helix 
DNA will adopt two different forms of helices under different conditions--the B- and A-forms. These two forms differ in their helical twist, rise, pitch and number of base pairs per turn. The twist of a helix refers to the number of degrees of angular rotation needed to get from one base unit to another.
In the B-form of helix, this is 36 degrees while in the A-form it is 
33 degrees. Rise refers to the height change from one base pair to the next and is 3.4 angstroms in the B-form and 2.6 angstroms in the A-form. The pitch is the height change to get one full rotation (360 degrees) of the helix. This value is 34 angstroms in the B-form since there are ten base pairs per turn. In the A-form, this value is 28 angstroms since there are eleven base pairs per full turn. 
Of the two forms, the B-form is far more common, existing under most physiological conditions. The A-form is only adopted by DNA under conditions of low humidity. RNA, however, generally adopts the A-form in situations where the major and minor grooves are closer to the same size and the base pairs are a bit tilted with respect to the helical axis. ... tion1.html

The twist of a helix refers to the number of degrees of angular rotation needed to get from one base unit to another. In the B-form of helix, this is 36 degrees while in the A-form it is 33 degrees. " QUOTE"


This is merely the "STUFF" we're made of.
Seems perfectly in tune,I'd go so far as to say we are made of the "RITE" stuff.

Quote: Wrote:The group's work employed chiral sum frequency generation spectroscopy (SFG), a technique Petersen detailed in a 2015 paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. SFG is a nonlinear optical method in which two photon beams – one infrared and one visible – interact with the sample, producing an SFG beam containing the sum of the two beams' frequencies, or energies. In this case, the sample was a strand of DNA linked to a silicon-coated prism.
More manipulation of the beams and calculation proved the existence of a chiral water superstructure surrounding DNA. [Image: alien2.gif]

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

May 25, 2017 by Tom Fleischman

[Image: waterformssp.jpg]
An illustration of what chiral nonlinear spectroscopy reveals: that DNA is surrounded by a chiral water super-structure, forming a "spine of hydration." Credit: Poul Petersen
Water is the Earth's most abundant natural resource, but it's also something of a mystery due to its unique solvation characteristics – that is, how things dissolve in it.

"It's uniquely adapted to biology, and vice versa," said Poul Petersen, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology. "It's super-flexible. It dissipates energy and mediates interactions, and that's becoming more recognized in biological systems."
How water relates to and interacts with those systems – like DNA, the building block of all living things – is of critical importance, and Petersen's group has used a relatively new form of spectroscopy to observe a previously unknown characteristic of water.
"DNA's chiral spine of hydration," published May 24 in the American Chemical Society journal Central Science, reports the first observation of a chiral water superstructure surrounding a biomolecule. In this case, the water structure follows the iconic helical structure of DNA, which itself is chiral, meaning it is not superimposable on its mirror image. Chirality is a key factor in biology, because most biomolecules and pharmaceuticals are chiral.
"If you want to understand reactivity and biology, then it's not just water on its own," Petersen said. "You want to understand water around stuff, and how it interacts with the stuff. And particularly with biology, you want to understand how it behaves around biological material – like protein and DNA."
Water plays a major role in DNA's structure and function, and its hydration shell has been the subject of much study. Molecular dynamics simulations have shown a broad range of behaviors of the water structure in DNA's minor groove, the area where the backbones of the helical strand are close together.
The group's work employed chiral sum frequency generation spectroscopy (SFG), a technique Petersen detailed in a 2015 paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. SFG is a nonlinear optical method in which two photon beams – one infrared and one visible – interact with the sample, producing an SFG beam containing the sum of the two beams' frequencies, or energies. In this case, the sample was a strand of DNA linked to a silicon-coated prism.
More manipulation of the beams and calculation proved the existence of a chiral water superstructure surrounding DNA.
In addition to the novelty of observing a chiral water structure template by a biomolecule, chiral SFG provides a direct way to examine water in biology.
"The techniques we have developed provide a new avenue to study DNA hydration, as well as other supramolecular chiral structures," Petersen said.
The group admits that their finding's biological relevance is unclear, but Petersen thinks the ability to directly examine water and its behavior within biological systems is important.
"Certainly, chemical engineers who are designing biomimetic systems and looking at biology and trying to find applications such as water filtration would care about this," he said.
Another application, Petersen said, could be in creating better anti-biofouling materials, which are resistant to the accumulation of microorganisms, algae and the like on wetted surfaces.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: An interesting twist on supercooled liquid water

More information: DNA's chiral spine of hydration, ACS Central Science, 2017. 
[Image: 25.1Spine33copy.png]

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Hydrogen bonding as strong as in ice

The surface of the water droplets turns out to be much more ordered than that of normal water, and is comparable to super-cooled water in which the 
molecules have very strong hydrogen bond interactions. In ice, these interactions lead to a stable tetrahedral configuration surrounding each water molecule. Surprisingly, this type of structure was found on the surface of the droplets even at the room temperature—50 °C above were it would normally appear.
Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale

May 24, 2017

[Image: waterissurpr.jpg]
The method involves overlapping ultrashort laser pulses in a mixture of water droplets in liquid oil and detecting photons that are scattered only from the interface. Credit: © EPFL/Julia Jacobi Chair of Photomedicine - Laboratory for Fundamental BioPhotonic
Researchers from AMOLF and Swiss EPFL have shown that the surface of minuscule water drops surrounded by a hydrophobic substance such as oil is surprisingly ordered. At room temperature, the surface water molecules of these droplets have much stronger interactions than at a normal water surface.  This may shed new light on a variety of atmospheric, biological and even geological processes.

Nanometric-sized water drops are everywhere—in the air as droplets or aerosols, in industrially produced medications, and within rocks and oil fields. To understand the behavior of these drops, it is necessary to know how they interact with their hydrophobic environment. This interaction takes places at the curved droplet interface, a sub-nanometric region that surrounds the small pocket of water. Researchers from EPFL, in collaboration with the institute AMOLF in the Netherlands have discovered that molecules on the surface of the drops were much more ordered than expected. Their surprising results have been published in Nature Communications. They pave the way to a better understanding of atmospheric, biological and geological processes.
Unique perspective on miniscule droplets
At EPFL, Sylvie Roke has developed a unique method for examining the surface of droplets one thousandth the thickness of a human hair, with a volume of an attoliter (10−18 liters). "The method involves overlapping ultrashort laser pulses in a mixture of water droplets in liquid oil and detecting photons that are scattered only from the interface", explains Roke. "These photons have the sum frequency of the incoming photons and are thus of a different color. With this newly generated color, we can determine the structure of the interface."
Hydrogen bonding as strong as in ice
The surface of the water droplets turns out to be much more ordered than that of normal water, and is comparable to super-cooled water in which the molecules have very strong hydrogen bond interactions. In ice, these interactions lead to a stable tetrahedral configuration surrounding each water molecule. Surprisingly, this type of structure was found on the surface of the droplets even at the room temperature—50 °C above were it would normally appear.
[Image: 1-waterissurpr.jpg]
The surface of the water droplets turns out to be much more ordered than that of normal water and is comparable to super cooled (liquid < 0 °C water) water in which the water molecules have very strong hydrogen bond interactions. Credit: EPFL-Julia Jacobi Chair of Photomedicine - Laboratory for fundamental BioPhotonics
Chemical processes
This research provides valuable insight into the properties of nanometric water drops. "The chemical properties of these drops depend on how the water molecules are organized on the surface, so it's really important to understand what's going on there," explained Roke. Further research could target the surface properties of water droplets with adding salt, a more realistic model of marine aerosols that consist of salty water surrounded by a hydrophobic environment. Salt may either enhance the water network or reduce its strength. "Or, it may not do anything at all. Given the surprising results found here, we can only speculate," says Roke.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Theoretical model reveals how droplets grow around tiny particles on a surface
More information: The interfacial structure of water droplets in a hydrophobic liquid, Nature communications, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS15548 
Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:"Multicellularity has evolved at least 25 times independently, but in all likelihood while certain general biological mechanisms - like cells-sticking together or modified cell cycles - may be shared, the actual genes driving these developments will mostly be unique to each lineage," he says. "Almost all the families that are found in other organisms can be found in a diverse array of unicellular organisms, suggesting that the genes that gave rise to multicellularity were derived from genes that were already present in the unicellular ancestor but may have been duplicated to form new genes that now have new functions."

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Team pieces together the mystery of how single cell life forms evolved into multicellular organisms
February 2, 2018, Wits University

[Image: solvingthepu.jpg]
The muliticellular algae, Tetrabaena socialis. Credit: Hisayoshi Nozaki and Yoko Arakaki

One of the big evolutionary questions in life is how and why single cell organisms organised themselves to live in a group, thereby forming multicellular life forms.

Wits PhD student, Jonathan Featherston, of the Evolution of Complexity Laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has answered at least part of this question, by decoding the genomic sequence of one of the simplest of all multicellular organisms - the four-celled alga Tetrabaena socialis. His research has been published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Tetrabaena is a member of a lineage of green-algae known as the volvocine lineage. The lineage is a model lineage for understanding how multicellularity evolved. By studying the genome of this simple alga, a number of genetic mechanisms that control how cells divide were associated with the origin of multicellularity.
By painstakingly piecing together the whole genome sequence for the alga over a period of over two years, using various genome-sequencing methodologies, Featherston has identified the ubiquitin proteasomal pathway (UPP) as a process that plays a key role in the evolution of multicellularity. This pathway is involved in regulating many activities in cells by targeting proteins for destruction thereby maintaining a careful balance of proteins in cells.
"The UPP has been implicated in many human cancers and even as a potential target for treating cancers. From this study it seems that alterations to this pathway were important for how multicellularity evolved in these algae," says Featherston.
UPP is a complicated pathway that controls the cellular concentration of key proteins that drive cell division and it plays a role in many cellular functions. Featherston's study suggests that UPP may play a regulating how many divisions each species of volvocine undergoes through degradation of key molecules that control cell division.
"One of the earliest evolutionary adaptations in the volvocines was a modified cell cycle. The multicellular volvocines evolved a genetic program for controlling the number of divisions during reproduction where each species has a genetically programmed maximum number of divisions. Some will only divide twice during reproduction while others may divide 12 times," he says. "Normally people look a lot at how much of a key regulatory molecule is produced by a cell but here the interest is in the pathway that destroys these molecules. It's kind of the other side of how cellular processes are regulated."
Featherston compared the genome sequence of multicellular algae to their nearest single celled relative, in order to establish the genetic differences associated with the evolution of multicellularity. While overall, the the single celled and multicelled algae are very similar, he identified a small set of gene families (131) that were gained at the origin of multicellularity.
"We picked up some trends from this set of families. Many have developmental functions, which indicates that they probably are important for the evolution of multicellularity," he says.
Featherston's work shows that the evolution of multicellularity is associated with lineage-specific genetic developments.
"Multicellularity has evolved at least 25 times independently, but in all likelihood while certain general biological mechanisms - like cells-sticking together or modified cell cycles - may be shared, the actual genes driving these developments will mostly be unique to each lineage," he says. "Almost all the families that are found in other organisms can be found in a diverse array of unicellular organisms, suggesting that the genes that gave rise to multicellularity were derived from genes that were already present in the unicellular ancestor but may have been duplicated to form new genes that now have new functions."

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: How and why single cell organisms evolved into multicellular life
More information: Jonathan Featherston et al. The 4-Celled Tetrabaena socialis Nuclear Genome Reveals the Essential Components for Genetic Control of Cell Number at the Origin of Multicellularity in the Volvocine Lineage, Molecular Biology and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msx332

Journal reference: Molecular Biology and Evolution [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Wits University

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

Viruses—lots of them—are falling from the sky
February 6, 2018, University of British Columbia

[Image: viruseslotso.jpg]
Viruses and bacteria fall back to Earth via dust storms and precipitation. Saharan dust intrusions from North Africa and rains from the Atlantic. Credit: NASA Visible Earth
An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth's atmosphere – and falling from it – according to new research from scientists in Canada, Spain and the U.S.

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Giant viruses may play an intriguing role in evolution of life on Earth
February 7, 2018 by Richard C. Lewis, University of Iowa

[Image: virus.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
We all know viruses cause colds and flu this time of year, but you might be surprised to learn that a virus may have played a key role in the evolution of nearly all life forms on Earth.

In a new study, a University of Iowa biologist identified a virus family whose set of genes is similar to that of eukaryotes, an organism classification that includes all plants and animals.
The finding is important because it helps clarify how eukaryotes evolved after branching from prokaryotes some 2 billion years ago.
"It's exciting and significant to find a living family of giant viruses with eukaryote-specific genes in a form that predates the latest common ancestor of all eukaryotes," says Albert Erives, associate professor in the Department of Biology. "These viruses are like time machines that tell us more about how life on our planet came to be."
In the study, Erives analyzed the genome of a virus family called Marseilleviridae and found it shares a similar set of genes, called core histones, with eukaryotes.
That places Marseilleviridae, and perhaps its viral relatives, somewhere along eukaryotes' evolutionary journey.
"We now know that eukaryotes are more closely related to viruses," says Erives, "and the reason is because they share core histones, which are fundamental to eukaryotes."
Core histones are packagers, like professional gift-wrappers. They're proteins that, in humans, coil DNA in the chromosomes so vital genetic information is compact and protected. Prokaryotes don't have core histones, so somehow, somewhere, eukaryotes picked them up.
Viruses like Marseilleviridae may have been the source. (An alternative and equally fascinating explanation is that an ancestor of the Marseilleviridae picked up this gene from a proto-eukaryotic organism, an intermediate between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.)
Erives discovered this possible origin somewhat fortuitously. For a class assignment, he asked students to investigate giant viruses. These super-sized viruses, first discovered in 2003 although believed to be in existence for billions of years, are the giants of the virus world: They're hundreds of times bigger and stocked with hundreds more genes than standard viruses. The one family of giant viruses not chosen by a student was Marseilleviridae, so Erives decided to take a look at it himself.
As he analyzed Marseilleviridae's genomes in data provided by the National Institutes of Health, Erives noticed the giant virus family encodes the eukaryotic core histones H2B-H2A and H3-H4. Unlike eukaryotes, however, these Marseilleviridae core histones are primitively fused as dimer proteins.
"So, when I saw this, it was wild," Erives says. "No one has ever seen a virus with histones."
Moreover, he realized Marseilleviridae "did not get these genes from any one eukaryotic lineage living, but rather from some ancestor who was proto-eukaryotic—that is, on its way to becoming a eukaryote. Until now, no 'organism' was known to have core histone genes besides eukaryotic cells," he says.
The discovery begs a larger question about the role giant viruses have played in the evolution of all life on Earth. Erives likens giant viruses to vines spreading out into the cellular tree of life—sampling here, borrowing there, and sharing genetic material among the branches of archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes.
"Giant viruses have genes that no one has seen before," he says. "They're conserved. They've been using them for something, and for a very long time. Why not use them now to peer into the past?"
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Viruses share genes with organisms across the tree of life
More information: Albert J. Erives, Phylogenetic analysis of the core histone doublet and DNA topo II genes of Marseilleviridae: evidence of proto-eukaryotic provenance, Epigenetics & Chromatin (2017). DOI: 10.1186/s13072-017-0162-0

Provided by: University of Iowa

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New studies of clay formation provide clues about early Martian climate Horsepoop

February 6, 2018, SETI Institute

[Image: newstudiesof.jpg]
Ancient Noachian rocks on Mars are mapped in light gray with valley networks colored in blue tones and surface clays marked in yellow. Two locations with abundant smectite clays formed in surface environments include Mawrth Vallis (MV) and Nili Fossae (NF). The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover is currently at Gale Crater (GC) where smectite clays have also been found.  Credit: SETI Institute
New research published in Nature Astronomy seeks to understand how surface clay was formed on Mars despite its cold climate.

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Asteroid 'time capsules' may help explain how life started on Earth
February 17, 2018, Georgia Institute of Technology

[Image: asteroidtime.jpg]
Nicolas Hud, director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Hud will be a panelist at a press briefing "Asteroids for Research, Discovery, and Commerce" at 1 p.m. Central Time on Feb. 17 at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Credit: Fitrah Hamid, Georgia Tech
In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs - and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining.

But for researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists the starting point they need to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.
Director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Hud says finding molecules in asteroids provides the strongest evidence that such compounds were present on the Earth before life formed. Knowing what molecules were present helps establish the initial conditions that led to the formation of amino acids and related compounds that, in turn, came together to form peptides, small protein-like molecules that may have kicked off life on this planet.
"We can look to the asteroids to help us understand what chemistry is possible in the universe," said Hud. "It's important for us to study materials from asteroids and meteorites, the smaller versions of asteroids that fall to Earth, to test the validity of our models for how molecules in them could have helped give rise to life. We also need to catalog the molecules from asteroids and meteorites because there might be compounds there that we had not even considered important for starting life."
Hud will be a panelist at a press briefing "Asteroids for Research, Discovery, and Commerce" on February 17 at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas. He will also be part of a session on February 18 on the topic, "Seeking the Identity and Origins of the First Polymers of Life."
NASA scientists have been analyzing compounds found in asteroids and meteorites for decades, and their work provides a solid understanding for what might have been present when the Earth itself was formed, Hud says.
"If you model a prebiotic chemical reaction in the laboratory, scientists can argue about whether or not you had the right starting materials," said Hud. "Detection of a molecule in an asteroid or meteorite is about the only evidence everyone will accept for that molecule being prebiotic. It's something we can really lean on."

The Miller-Urey experiment, conducted in 1952 to simulate conditions believed to have existed on the early Earth, produced more than 20 different amino acids, organic compounds that are the building blocks for peptides. The experiment was kicked off by sparks inside a flask containing water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen, all materials believed to have existed in the atmosphere when the Earth was very young.
Since the Miller-Urey experiment, scientists have demonstrated the feasibility of other chemical pathways to amino acids and compounds necessary for life. In Hud's laboratory, for instance, researchers used cycles of alternating wet and dry conditions to create complex organic molecules over time. Under such conditions, amino acids and hydroxy acids, compounds that differ chemically by just a single atom, could have formed short peptides that led to the formation of larger and more complex molecules - ultimately exhibiting properties that we now associate with biological molecules.
"We now have a really good way to synthesize peptides with amino acids and hydroxy acids working together that could have been common on the early Earth," he said. "Even today, hydroxy acids are found with amino acids in living organisms - and in some meteorite samples that have been examined."
Hud believes there are many possible ways that the molecules of life could have formed. Life could have gotten started with molecules that are less sophisticated and less efficient than what we see today. Like life itself, these molecules could have evolved over time.
"What we find is that these compounds can form molecules that look a lot like modern peptides, except in the backbone that is holding the units together," said Hud. "The overall structure can be very similar and would be easier to make, though it doesn't have the ability to fold into as complex structures as modern proteins. There is a tradeoff between the simplicity of forming these molecules and how close these molecules are to those found in contemporary life."
Geologists believe the Earth was very different billions of years ago. Instead of continents, there were islands protruding from the oceans. Even the sun was different, producing less light but more cosmic rays - which could have helped power the protein-forming chemical reactions.
"The islands could have been potential incubators for life, with molecules raining down from the atmosphere," Hud said. "We think the key process that would have allowed these molecules to go to the next stage is a wet-dry cycling like what we are doing in the lab. That would have been perfect for an island out in the ocean."
Rather than a single spark of life, the molecules could have evolved slowly over time in gradual progression that may have taken place at different rates in different locations, perhaps simultaneously. Different components of cells, for example, may have developed separately where conditions favored them before they ultimately came together.
"There is something very special about peptides, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and lipids and their ability to work together to do something they couldn't have done separately," he said. "And there could have been any number of chemical processes on the early Earth that never led to life."
Knowing what conditions were like on the early Earth therefore gives scientists a stronger foundation for hypothesizing what could have taken place, and could offer hints to other pathways that may not have been considered yet.
"There are probably a lot more clues in the asteroids about what molecules were really there," said Hud. "We may not even know what we should be looking for in these asteroids, but by looking at what molecules we find, we can ask different and more questions about how they could have helped get life started."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Could interstellar ice provide the answer to birth of DNA?
Provided by: Georgia Institute of Technology

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Long-lived Mars rover Opportunity keeps finding surprises
February 16, 2018, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

[Image: longlivedmar.jpg]
Textured rows on the ground in this portion of "Perseverance Valley" are under investigation by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which used its Navigation Camera to take the component images of this downhill-looking scene. The rover reaches its 5,000th Martian day, or sol, on Feb. 16, 2018. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity keeps providing surprises about the Red Planet, most recently with observations of possible "rock stripes."

The ground texture seen in recent images from the rover resembles a smudged version of very distinctive stone stripes on some mountain slopes on Earth that result from repeated cycles of freezing and thawing of wet soil. But it might also be due to wind, downhill transport, other processes or a combination.
Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. As it reaches the 5,000th Martian day, or sol, of what was planned as a 90-sol mission, it is investigating a channel called "Perseverance Valley," which descends the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.
"Perseverance Valley is a special place, like having a new mission again after all these years," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. "We already knew it was unlike any place any Mars rover has seen before, even if we don't yet know how it formed, and now we're seeing surfaces that look like stone stripes. It's mysterious. It's exciting. I think the set of observations we'll get will enable us to understand it."
On some slopes within the valley, the soil and gravel particles appear to have become organized into narrow rows or corrugations, parallel to the slope, alternating between rows with more gravel and rows with less.
[Image: 1-longlivedmar.jpg]
This late-afternoon view from the front Hazard Avoidance Camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows a pattern of rock stripes on the ground, a surprise to scientists on the rover team. It was taken in January 2018, as the rover neared Sol 5000 of what was planned as a 90-sol mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The origin of the whole valley is uncertain. Rover-team scientists are analyzing various clues that suggest actions of water, wind or ice. They are also considering a range of possible explanations for the stripes, and remain uncertain about whether this texture results from processes of relatively modern Mars or a much older Mars.
Other lines of evidence have convinced Mars experts that, on a scale of hundreds of thousands of years, Mars goes through cycles when the tilt or obliquity of its axis increases so much that some of the water now frozen at the poles vaporizes into the atmosphere and then becomes snow or frost accumulating nearer the equator.
"One possible explanation of these stripes is that they are relics from a time of greater obliquity when snow packs on the rim seasonally melted enough to moisten the soil, and then freeze-thaw cycles organized the small rocks into stripes," Arvidson said. "Gravitational downhill movement may be diffusing them so they don't look as crisp as when they were fresh."
[Image: 2-longlivedmar.jpg]
This image shows stone stripes on the side of a volcanic cone on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The stripes are made of small rock fragments and they are aligned downhill as freeze-thaw cycles have lifted them up and out of the finer-grained regolith, and moved them to the sides, forming stone stripes. Credit: Washington University in St. Louis/NASA
Bernard Hallet of the University of Washington, Seattle, agrees the alignments seen in images of Perseverance Valley are not as distinctive as the stone stripes he has studied on Earth. Field measurements on Earth, near the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea where the soil freezes every night but is often dry, have documented how those form when temperature and ground conditions are right: Soils with a mix of silt, sand and gravel expand more where the finer-grain material is most prevalent and retains more water. Freezing expands the soil, pushing larger particles up. If they move to the side, as well as down the general slope, due to gravity or wind, they tend to move away from the finer-grain concentrations and stretch out downslope. Where larger particles become more concentrated, the ground expands less. The process repeats hundreds or thousands of times, and the pattern self-organizes into alternating stripes.

Perseverance Valley holds rocks carved by sand blowing uphill from the crater floor, and wind might also be the key in sorting larger particles into rows parallel to the slope.
"Debris from relatively fresh impact craters is scattered over the surface of the area, complicating assessment of effects of wind," said Opportunity science-team member Robert Sullivan of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. "I don't know what these stripes are, and I don't think anyone else knows for sure what they are, so we're entertaining multiple hypotheses and gathering more data to figure it out."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Solar-powered rover approaching 5,000th Martian dawn
More information: Every sol Opportunity keeps working may add information to help solve some puzzles and find new ones. For more information about Opportunity, visit

Provided by: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Read more at:

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:The ETH researchers are now picking away at the prevailing dogma of an RNA-based world. They think that the amyloid hypothesis is more plausible;

A protein that self-replicates LilD
February 22, 2018 by Michael Keller, ETH Zurich

[Image: aproteinthat.jpg]
Lakes in volcanic surroundings could have been the breeding ground for the first biochemical compounds around 4 to 4.5 billion years ago. Credit: Dhilung Kirat/Wikimedia, ETH Zurich
ETH scientists have been able to prove that a protein structure widespread in nature – the amyloid – is theoretically capable of multiplying itself. This makes it a potential predecessor to molecules that are regarded as the building blocks of life.

Long regarded as a biological aberration, amyloids are fibrous aggregates of short protein fragments. Amyloids have a bad reputation because they are thought to be the cause of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
It was only recently that researchers discovered that amyloids appear as structural and functional building blocks in a wide range of life forms, from bacteria, yeast and fungi to humans. In vertebrates, they play a role in the production of the pigment melanin, while yeast cells use amyloid aggregates to form a kind of molecular memory.
Catalysts in prebiotic evolution
Composed of short peptides, amyloid fibres can accelerate chemical reactions in a similar way to enzymes; they have thus been viewed for several years as candidates for the first precursor molecules of life. Until now, however, an important chemical property was lacking in the theory of amyloids role in abiogenesis: self-replication.
Early proponents of the amyloid hypothesis include ETH Professor Roland Riek and his senior assistant Jason Greenwald, from the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry. In an experiment, they have now been able to show that amyloids can serve as a chemical template for the synthesis of short peptides. And the critical point: "This ability also potentially applies to the amyloid itself – meaning the molecules can self-replicate," says Riek. The researchers reported their findings in a study in Nature Communications.
[Image: 1-aproteinthat.jpg]
Left: electron micrograph of an amyloid fibre. In green is a diagram of the sheet structure characteristic for amyloids, consisting of multiple short peptide chains. Credit: Jason Greenwald/ETH Zurich
Template for self-replication
The ability to self-replicate is regarded as an essential prerequisite for every early form of life. By proving that amyloids self-replicate, Riek and his team have not only highlighted another amazing aspect of this commonly underestimated protein, but also filled in a previously missing link in the amyloid hypothesis' argument.
Almost two years earlier, the ETH scientists had already proven in an experiment that amyloid structures can spontaneously form with astounding ease – from simple amino acids that probably already existed when the Earth was still lifeless, and under reaction conditions that appear very plausible for the primordial soup (as ETH News reported).

The same is true for the newly discovered peptide synthesis: "The reaction mechanism seems to be of a general nature. It is stable over a wide range of temperatures and salt concentrations, in both acidic and alkaline environments," explains Greenwald.
This discovery strengthens the researchers' opinion that early in evolutionary history, amyloids could have played a central role in the development of early life forms as information carriers and catalytic units.
[Image: 2-aproteinthat.jpg]
The self-replication mechanism of amyloid fibres depicted schematically: piece by piece, specific amino acids (coloured building blocks) settle at the right site and chemically combine. During the process, the growing amyloid serves as a template for itself. Credit: Lukas Frey/ETH Zurich
Not just an RNA world
Until now, however, the most widespread idea for the molecular beginnings of life has been the RNA hypothesis, which sees ribonucleic acid (RNA) as the only key player in the prebiotic primordial soup. This is because, like the genetic material DNA, RNA molecules can code information, and are also able to self-replicate.
The ETH researchers are now picking away at the prevailing dogma of an RNA-based world. They think that the amyloid hypothesis is more plausible; firstly, because RNA molecules with a biological function are much larger and more complex, so they are unlikely to form spontaneously under prebiotic conditions. "Additionally, amyloids are much more stable than early nucleic acid polymers, and they have a much simpler abiotic synthesis route compared to the complexity of known catalytic RNAs," says Greenwald.
Riek adds: "We will never be able to prove which is true – to do so, we would have to turn back the last 4 to 4.5 billion years of evolution. However, we suspect that it was not one, but multiple molecular processes with various predecessor molecules that were involved in the creation of life."

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Protein-like structures from the primordial soup
More information: Saroj K. Rout et al. A prebiotic template-directed peptide synthesis based on amyloids, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02742-3

Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: ETH Zurich

Read more at:

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Arrow Doesn't jibe well, temporally, with the following article posted below it?
Study suggests evolutionary change in protein function respects biophysical principles

February 22, 2018, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Some molecular biologists who study the proteins that regulate cell operations, including Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, do not confine their research to understanding the molecules' current roles. They also look deep into the proteins' evolutionary past to explore what structures have allowed proteins with new functions to develop in response to new needs.

An expert in how plants cope with heat, Vierling's interest for many years has been small heat shock proteins (HSPs), which accumulate in plants at high temperatures and appear to act as "molecular chaperones" to protect other proteins from damage.

For work reported in the current issue of Science, Vierling, Indu Santhanagoplan and Eman Basha at UMass Amherst and Vierling's longtime collaborator, Justin Benesch and his Oxford University group, experts in protein biophysics, looked at two types of small HSPs to address what they call a "basic evolutionary puzzle." That is, how two different types of small HSPs, Class I and Class II, evolved from a single type over 400 million years ago Naughty to form two distinct types with different functions.

Read more at:


Reconsider: above Sheep below research.
Quote:"Any future attempts to model atmospheric changes in deep-time must incorporate the full range of uncertainties we have used here."

Plants colonized the Earth 100 million years earlier than previously thought Doh
February 19, 2018,
University of Bristol

[Image: plantscoloni.jpg]
Early life on land resembled cryptogamic ground covers like this lava field in Iceland. Co-author Sylvia Pressel appears in the right of the picture. Credit: Paul Kenrick
For the first four billion years of Earth's history, our planet's continents would have been devoid of all life except microbes.

All of this changed with the origin of land plants from their pond scum relatives, greening the continents and creating habitats that animals would later invade.
The timing of this episode has previously relied on the oldest fossil plants which are about 420 million years old.
New research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that these events actually occurred a hundred million years earlier, changing perceptions of the evolution of the Earth's biosphere.
Plants are major contributors to the chemical weathering of continental rocks, a key process in the carbon cycle that regulates Earth's atmosphere and climate over millions of years.
The team used 'molecular clock' methodology, which combined evidence on the genetic differences between living species and fossil constraints on the age of their shared ancestors, to establish an evolutionary timescale that sees through the gaps in the fossil record.
Dr Jennifer Morris, from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences and co-lead author on the study, explained: "The global spread of plants and their adaptations to life on land, led to an increase in continental weathering rates that ultimately resulted in a dramatic decrease the levels of the 'greenhouse gas' carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global cooling.
[Image: 1-plantscoloni.jpg]
Rhynia gwynne-vaughanii -- 400 million-year-old fossil plant stem from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Credit: The Natural History Museum, London.
"Previous attempts to model these changes in the atmosphere have accepted the plant fossil record at face value - our research shows that these fossil ages underestimate the origins of land plants, and so these models need to be revised."
Co-lead author Mark Puttick described the team's approach to produce the timescale. He said: "The fossil record is too sparse and incomplete to be a reliable guide to date the origin of land plants. Instead of relying on the fossil record alone, we used a 'molecular clock' approach to compare differences in the make-up of genes of living species - these relative genetic differences were then converted into ages by using the fossil ages as a loose framework.
"Our results show the ancestor of land plants was alive in the middle Cambrian Period, which was similar to the age for the first known terrestrial animals."
One difficulty in the study is that the relationships between the earliest land plants are not known. Therefore the team, which also includes members from Cardiff University and the Natural History Museum, London, explored if different relationships changed the estimated origin time for land plants.
[Image: 2-plantscoloni.jpg]
Cooksonia pertoni collected by co-author Dianne Edwards from the type locality (Pridoli). It is about 12mm high. It was first published in Palaeontology Vol 22 Edwards 1979 plate 4 fig13. It is now housed in the National Museum, Wales. Credit: Diane Edwards
Leaders of the overall study, Professor Philip Donoghue and Harald Schneider added: "We used different assumptions on the relationships between land plants and found this did not impact the age of the earliest land plants.
"Any future attempts to model atmospheric changes in deep-time must incorporate the full range of uncertainties we have used here."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Plants are given a new family tree
More information: Jennifer L. Morris el al., "The timescale of early land plant evolution," PNAS (2018).

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Bristol

Read more at:

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
NASA told to 'own up' after top scientist spots ALIEN 'proof' on Mars

A TOP scientist has called on NASA to "own up" after spotting what he believes is proof of alien life on Mars.

By David Rivers / Published 17th February 2018

The space agency sent alien hunters into meltdown last month after publishing mysterious images captured by its Curiosity rover.
The snaps captured small shapes – between one and two millimetres in width and five millimetres in length – which were hailed by some as trace fossils, representing signs of past life.
Dr Barry DiGregorio – research fellow for the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology – was quick to spot the shapes in the images and said they were proof of alien creatures.

19 images here:

He told Daily Star Online he believes they prove "soft-bodied creatures" roamed the Red Planet around 700million years ago.
Now the expert has called on NASA to investigate them further and "own up" to his bombshell theory.
Dr DiGregorio told WKBW: "It looks very much like trace fossils that you can find in western New York."

[Image: Mars-1240578.jpg]
SNAPPED: Some believe pictures captured by NASA show trace fossils

He added: "NASA is saying they are crystals.

"And I think that NASA has a duty to own up to the truth and tell people around the world about life on Mars."   rhw007 emphasis

Trace fossils are signs of past life, either from dead remains of living creatures or things left behind by them.

[Image: Mars-682598.jpg]
THEORY: A scientist claims Curiosity snaps (left) are proof of alien life

Dr DiGregorio previously told this website that the findings show the creatures moved through "mud-like sediments".

He told us: "If trace fossils are on Mars, as I think they are and new Curiosity images show, it moved through ancient shallow marine sediments in a lake in Gale Crater."

"And like the multicellular life on Earth during the Ordovician, left evidence of its movements through shallow marine sediments."

"Trace fossils record the movement of soft bodied creatures through marine and mud-like sediments, they are not body fossils."

"If not trace fossils, what other geological explanations will NASA come up with?"

A spokesman for Nasa said its Curiosity team is "considering multiple possibilities for the origin of dark, stick-like features".

They added: "Among those possibilities not necessarily involving any biology are crystals, minerals that filled fractures in bedrock and minerals that filled voids where original crystalline material dissolved away."


HEY No Adult Supervision Available & sidekickers Just Poking Liars  - EA

GET YOUR FRACKING ACT TOGETHER !!!  and stop the Horsepoop Poop

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
I posted those images on Wook's "we never forgot about Mars" thread, 
from the original NASA release a couple of weeks ago,
suggesting that the NASA explanation was suspect with my standard Nonono

Here is a larger image from the original NASA release
[Image: 21484_pia22213_Sol1922-Haroldswick-merge.jpg]

The NASA comment from the original release:

Quote:The origin of the stick-shaped features is uncertain. 
One possibility is that they are erosion-resistant bits of dark material 
from mineral veins cutting through rocks in this area[Image: nonono.gif]

They sure look exactly like what this guy stated:

Quote:Dr DiGregorio previously told this website 
that the findings show the creatures moved through "mud-like sediments".

He told Daily Star Online he believes they prove "soft-bodied creatures",
roamed the red planet around 700million years ago.

Mud worms.
Ice worms.
That is why NASA has made the Martian northern plains a no go zone,
in their planetary protection guidelines bullshit.

If worms or such "soft bodied" creatures still exist underground, they may exist in abundance.
They might even be a food source that can be used and proliferated.
(02-23-2018, 03:14 AM)Vianova Wrote: That is why NASA has made the Martian northern plains a no go zone,
in their planetary protection guidelines bullshit.

If worms or such "soft bodied" creatures still exist underground, they may exist in abundance.
They might even be a food source that can be used and proliferated.

Well Elon Musk's Landing Zone for ALL of his BFR landings are in the same latitude as Cydonia. PERIOD !  I've checked all I could find of HIS "targeted" requests, which of course is higher priority for HiRise than any of us down here and the ones REMAINING not yet acquired, despite being "in the zone" for acquisition.

We've been cut out it seems, except for Keith of course; I think HIS requests USUALLY get acquired, it may take 3 or 4 times to get someting; but he usually gets it.

Smilies-21813 Par-ty

As for Miss Emily's 'planetary protection' that won't cut for Elon.  He's going to Mars at CYDONIA latitude PERIOD !!! Only a few longitude away so as not spoil the pristine of Cydonia. He could have his drivers go there in waves setting up another camp well north or south of Cydonia.

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
worm borough and worm fossils on Earth

[Image: wormtube4.jpg]

[Image: Taenidium-serpentinum-Heer-1877.jpg]

[Image: haley8.jpg]

[Image: These-Invertebrate-Trace-Fossils-Are-Not...urrows.jpg]

[Image: DCM_G.11654.jpg]

This specimen shows burrow networks running in all directions – possibly the feeding traces of worms living in stagnating mud.


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