June 16th, 2008

Colbert: Eyebrow Thing


Biological Chemicals Carried to Earth in Asteroid
Scientists found some complex "organic" chemicals, uracil and xanthine (building blocks in our DNA), in an asteroid. Testing shows they're likely to be of extraterrestrial origin. This gives some credence to the theory of panspermia.

Bacteria Make Evolutionary Jump Under Lab Observation
A bacteria strain underwent a nontrivial evolutionary shift and gained the ability to digest a new food source. This was the result of at least two separate mutations, probably more. It's also a demonstration of the value of latent traits towards making evolutionary "jumps".

Basic Proto-Cell Synthesized
Fewer details on this one but it sounds like they've created a small, stable, chemical construct which resembles a cell. It has genetic material inside a weak cell wall and was able to reproduce, at least in a limited fashion. I'll be interested to see further details and work on this.