The Anomaly Pages



A new form of life developed by astrobiology researcher Andrew Ellington, and publicized during September 1998, indicates that life could well exist in the hostile environment underneath the surface ice of Europa, a moon of Jupiter.

Developed from a bacterium, a less hardy "cousin" of the dangerous E.coli 0157:H7, the lifeform's forebears were bred to thrive on a toxic amino acid, the human-made fluorotryptophan. The earliest of these bacteria did not get on well, but alterations in the internal ordering of their genes helped their descendants cope. Ellington, an associate professor of molecular biology at the University of Texas, declares of the final evolved result that "this is an organism never before seen on the planet--a completely contrived creature." Ellington and colleague Jamie Barber, a graduate student, will attempt to replace more of 19 other natural amino acids of what can be called the "Uncoli" to find out how far they can make the organism into something that might be found off-world but not on Earth.

Source: Austin American Statesman, 9/20/98

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