The genes that arose “from the terrestrial Mars”

Mars on Earth. Or at least Mars analog environments on Earth. These environments are in different regions of the world, how the lake Kolyma (Siberia), the natural park of Yellowstone (United States), Pilbara (Australia), Rio Tinto (Spain) and others in Canada, Antarctica and Iceland.

Rio Tinto is a special aquatic environment for its acidity and its high content of heavy metals. The organisms that inhabit it are resistant to the toxicity of arsenic and nickel. They are very diverse, ranging from bacteria to eukaryotes quimiolitotrofas as fungi, algae and plants. They carry resistance genes. These can be transferred to other microorganisms through metagenomic techniques, to use in industrial processes, decontamination of soils and aquifers, and mining.

The species of archaea, bacteria, protists, fungi and algae have been isolated, evolving independently to the rest of the biosphere for 20 Ma by an intricate system of biological interactions. Bacterial communities over time, have precipitated iron, sulfur and other metals, creating a substrate similar to the Martian soil rare on Earth. It is possible that Mars has similar environments where there are remnants of communities that once inhabited the planet.

The robot of NASA Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity confirmed in 2004 that landed on the plain called Meridiani, a fossil bed of an ancient ocean deposits of iron and magnesium sulfate, chloride and bromide and an iron sulfate mineral hydrated, the jarosite. They are abundant in the headwaters of Rio Tinto, which is believed to be the terrestrial environment more like how it should be Mars 4000 Ma

* Ingenio 2010 Programme CSIC Consolider. Principal Investigator, Eduardo Gonzalez-Pastor of the project “Study of new mechanisms of metal resistance in microorganisms extremophiles” to investigate the mechanisms of microbial adaptation to extreme environments and conditions of the Earth.



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