The lone survivor: single organism ecosystem discovered

Scientists has discovered a new bacterial organism called desulforudis audaxviator that is an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem in and of itself, 2.8 km below the Earth’s surface the desulforudis audaxviator’s genome contains:

everything needed for the organism to sustain an independent existence and reproduce, including the ability to incorporate the elements necessary for life from inorganic sources, move freely, and protect itself from viruses, harsh conditions, and nutrient-poor periods by becoming a spore.

This is a beautiful discovery, and a testament to the diversity and splendour of Life. Also, it suggests there is no theoretical reason why life cannot survive in similar conditions on other planets:

“One question that has arisen when considering the capacity of other planets to support life is whether organisms can exist independently, without access even to the sun,” says Chivian. “The answer is yes, and here’s the proof. It’s sort of philosophically exciting to know that everything necessary for life can be packed into a single genome.

[image from eschipul on flickr]

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