[meteorite-list] Italian Team Claims to Have Revived Meteorite Bacteria

From: Matteo Chinellato <mcomemeteorite2000_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:23 2004
Message-ID: <20010513071902.61074.qmail_at_web10302.mail.yahoo.com>

I have contacted approximately 4 days one of the
university professors who have made this discovery,
but for the moment have ago not had no news on the
name of the meteorite in which it has been made the
discovery. Tomorrow, if I do not receive no answer,
telephone directly to the interested one for having

Salutes Matteo

--- Ron Baalke <baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov> ha
scritto: >
> Italian Team Claims to Have Revived Meteorite
> Bacteria
> space.com
> 11 May 2001
> An Italian team reportedly has found and revived
> bacteria harbored in an
> ancient meteorite, a finding that points to the
> existence of
> extraterrestrial life but has yet to pass scientific
> muster.
> Bruno D'Argenio of the Italian National Research
> Council (CNR) in Naples and
> Giuseppe Geraci of the University of Naples
> discovered the bacteria, called
> "cryms" or cristallomicrobi, within the crystalline
> structure of space rocks
> found in several parts of the world, the Italian
> newspaper La Stampa
> reported.
> The bacteria could be 2 billion years old and
> resisted the extreme pressures
> and temperatures of entering Earth's atmosphere
> while inside the meteorite,
> the researchers say. They publicized their findings
> at a press conference to
> the Italian Space Agency in Rome, Reuters reported
> earlier this week.
> The bacteria bear DNA chemistry identical to that
> within Earth-based life,
> reproduce normally and are sensitive to antibiotics,
> the researchers say. In
> addition, the reports indicate the cryms were found
> in several other Earth
> rocks -- which could contradict the claim of
> extraterrestrial origins.
> If true, the finding would support not only the
> existence of life beyond
> Earth but a theory that life came here from space,
> rather than emerging from
> a primordial soup on this planet.
> NASA scientist Everett K. Gibson, who has suffered
> his share of slings and
> arrows for ongoing work on Martian meteorites that
> can be interpreted as
> bearing signs of fossilized life, was quite
> skeptical of the Italian
> reports, noting they provided no detail on where the
> meteorites were found.
> Gibson, a senior scientist at NASA's Johnson Space
> Center, was the co-leader
> of a group that announced evidence in 1996 that
> could be interpreted as
> ancient life in a Martian meteorite.
> "In this case," Gibson said of the Italian findings,
> "there is not enough
> evidence that we see from the report to assume
> anything other than the
> characterization that it's similar to 50 terrestrial
> rocks," Gibson said.
> "That strongly suggests that what they are seeing is
> something from a
> contaminant."
> Those who study early life on Earth use eight
> criteria for judging whether a
> sample is likely to bear signs of life, he said. The
> toughest hurdle
> requires researchers to demonstrate that the
> chemistry in their rock comes
> indeed from the rock, not from chemistry the rock
> has picked up in its
> travels.
> The Italian sample quite likely was contaminated by
> Earth bacteria or
> chemical factors upon arrival, Gibson said, with
> bacteria borne via
> atmospheric or surface gases.
> "It's extremely likely that [incoming meteorite]
> material will pick up
> contaminants from the Earth," he said. "These are
> terrestrial bacteria. So
> the burden of proof lies with the investigator to
> prove that what he has is
> truly indigenous from the sample he is studying."
> In an open letter to La Stampa, Ennio Marsella, also
> of the CNR, likened his
> colleagues' findings to the 1996 discovery. He
> called the creatures
> "dormant" bacteria with the ability to endure
> indefinitely within the
> crystalline structure of rocks.
> Cryms measure a few ten-thousandths of a millimeter
> or smaller, Marsella
> said. Extracted from rocks on Earth, they can, "with
> rather simple
> techniques, once placed in the appropriate
> conditions," regain mobility and
> begin to reproduce, he said.
> Scientists have long debated the origin of life on
> Earth, with life dated
> back 3.8 billion years, just half a billion years
> after the birth of the
> planet. Some researchers believe comets transported
> life to Earth, while
> others say some form of electromagnetic radiation
> catalyzed a combination of
> chemicals on Earth to jump-start life.
> _______________________________________________
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Received on Sun 13 May 2001 03:19:02 AM PDT

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