Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘microbial life’

Natalie Angier writes in the NY Times today about the creation of synthetic microbes. But as interesting is what she reports about new research into the breadth of microbial life on our planet.

She quotes Dr. Craig Venter, of the J. Craig Venter Institute.

“From our random sequencing in the ocean, we uncovered six million new genes,” he said, genes, that is, unlike any yet seen in any of the mammals, reptiles, worms, fish, insects, fungi, microbes or narcissists that have been genetically analyzed so far. With just that first-pass act of nautical sequencing, Dr. Venter said, “we doubled the number of all genes characterized to date.”

We still don’t know what life really amounts to on our planet.  We keep finding lifeforms surviving in places and circumstances that we previously thought utterly unlivable.

Hearteningly, perhaps, that suggests that, even if we kill off ourselves and all the mammals, reptiles, worms, fish, insects, fungi, microbes or narcissists on the planet with us, life will survive.

But that’s not to justify our doing it, of course.  Indeed, it reminds us that we can’t know the full impact that our planet-altering lifestyles (including the creation of synthetic life forms) are having — since we still know so little about so many of the lifeforms with which we co-exist.

Read Full Post »