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1.
Environ Microbiol ; 26(3): e16598, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38444221

RESUMEN

The benthic biome of the deep-sea floor, one of the largest biomes on Earth, is dominated by diverse and highly productive heterotrophic protists, second only to prokaryotes in terms of biomass. Recent evidence suggests that these protists play a significant role in ocean biogeochemistry, representing an untapped source of knowledge. DNA metabarcoding and environmental sample sequencing have revealed that deep-sea abyssal protists exhibit high levels of specificity and diversity across local regions. This review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the known heterotrophic protists from the deep-sea floor, their geographic distribution, and their interactions in terms of parasitism and predation. We offer an overview of the most abundant groups and discuss their potential ecological roles. We argue that the exploration of the biodiversity and species-specific features of these protists should be integrated into broader deep-sea research and assessments of how benthic biomes may respond to future environmental changes.


Asunto(s)
Biodiversidad , Conducta Predatoria , Animales , Biomasa , Planeta Tierra , Ecosistema
2.
Glob Chang Biol ; 30(3): e17206, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38445332

RESUMEN

Symbiotic nitrogen (N) fixation (SNF), replenishing bioavailable N for terrestrial ecosystems, exerts decisive roles in N cycling and gross primary production. Nevertheless, it remains unclear what determines the variability of SNF rate, which retards the accurate prediction for global N fixation in earth system models. This study synthesized 1230 isotopic observations to elucidate the governing factors underlying the variability of SNF rate. The SNF rates varied significantly from 3.69 to 12.54 g N m-2 year-1 across host plant taxa. The traits of host plant (e.g. biomass characteristics and taxa) far outweighed soil properties and climatic factors in explaining the variations of SNF rate, accounting for 79.0% of total relative importance. Furthermore, annual SNF yield contributed to more than half of N uptake for host plants, which was consistent across different ecosystem types. This study highlights that the biotic factors, especially host plant traits (e.g. biomass characteristics and taxa), play overriding roles in determining SNF rate compared with soil properties. The suite of parameters for SNF lends support to improve N fixation module in earth system models that can provide more confidence in predicting bioavailable N changes in terrestrial ecosystems.


Asunto(s)
Ecosistema , Fijación del Nitrógeno , Biomasa , Planeta Tierra , Suelo
3.
Geobiology ; 22(2): e12592, 2024.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38445449

RESUMEN

Earth's deep continental subsurface is a prime setting to study the limits of life's relationship with environmental conditions and habitability. In Precambrian crystalline rocks worldwide, deep ancient groundwaters in fracture networks are typically oligotrophic, highly saline, and locally inhabited by low-biomass communities in which chemolithotrophic microorganisms may dominate. Periodic opening of new fractures can lead to penetration of surface water and/or migration of fracture fluids, both of which may trigger changes in subsurface microbial composition and activity. These hydrogeological processes and their impacts on subsurface communities may play a significant role in global cycles of key elements in the crust. However, to date, considerable uncertainty remains on how subsurface microbial communities may respond to these changes in hydrogeochemical conditions. To address this uncertainty, the biogeochemistry of Thompson mine (Manitoba, Canada) was investigated. Compositional and isotopic analyses of fracture waters collected here at ~1 km below land surface revealed different extents of mixing between subsurface brine and (paleo)meteoric waters. To investigate the effects this mixing may have had on microbial communities, the Most Probable Number technique was applied to test community response for a total of 13 different metabolisms. The results showed that all fracture waters were dominated by viable heterotrophic microorganisms which can utilize organic materials associated with aerobic/facultative anaerobic processes, sulfate reduction, or fermentation. Where mixing between subsurface brines and (paleo)meteoric waters occurs, the communities demonstrate higher cell densities and increased viable functional potentials, compared to the most saline sample. This study therefore highlights the connection between hydrogeologic heterogeneity and the heterogeneity of subsurface ecosystems in the crystalline rocks, and suggests that hydrogeology can have a considerable impact on the scope and scale of subsurface microbial communities on Earth and potentially beyond.


Asunto(s)
Agua Subterránea , Meteoroides , Microbiota , Biomasa , Planeta Tierra
5.
Nature ; 628(8007): 243-244, 2024 Apr.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38538899
7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 121(11): e2321592121, 2024 Mar 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38437533

RESUMEN

An RNA polymerase ribozyme that was obtained by directed evolution can propagate a functional RNA through repeated rounds of replication and selection, thereby enabling Darwinian evolution. Earlier versions of the polymerase did not have sufficient copying fidelity to propagate functional information, but a new variant with improved fidelity can replicate the hammerhead ribozyme through reciprocal synthesis of both the hammerhead and its complement, with the products then being selected for RNA-cleavage activity. Two evolutionary lineages were carried out in parallel, using either the prior low-fidelity or the newer high-fidelity polymerase. The former lineage quickly lost hammerhead functionality as the population diverged toward random sequences, whereas the latter evolved new hammerhead variants with improved fitness compared to the starting RNA. The increase in fitness was attributable to specific mutations that improved the replicability of the hammerhead, counterbalanced by a small decrease in hammerhead activity. Deep sequencing analysis was used to follow the course of evolution, revealing the emergence of a succession of variants that progressively diverged from the starting hammerhead as fitness increased. This study demonstrates the critical importance of replication fidelity for maintaining heritable information in an RNA-based evolving system, such as is thought to have existed during the early history of life on Earth. Attempts to recreate RNA-based life in the laboratory must achieve further improvements in replication fidelity to enable the fully autonomous Darwinian evolution of RNA enzymes as complex as the polymerase itself.


Asunto(s)
ARN Catalítico , ARN Catalítico/genética , ARN/genética , Planeta Tierra , Ejercicio Físico , Nucleotidiltransferasas , Catálisis
8.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S76-S106, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498817

RESUMEN

Within the first billion years of Earth's history, the planet transformed from a hot, barren, and inhospitable landscape to an environment conducive to the emergence and persistence of life. This chapter will review the state of knowledge concerning early Earth's (Hadean/Eoarchean) geochemical environment, including the origin and composition of the planet's moon, crust, oceans, atmosphere, and organic content. It will also discuss abiotic geochemical cycling of the CHONPS elements and how these species could have been converted to biologically relevant building blocks, polymers, and chemical networks. Proposed environments for abiogenesis events are also described and evaluated. An understanding of the geochemical processes under which life may have emerged can better inform our assessment of the habitability of other worlds, the potential complexity that abiotic chemistry can achieve (which has implications for putative biosignatures), and the possibility for biochemistries that are vastly different from those on Earth.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Planetas , Luna , Atmósfera/química , Océanos y Mares
9.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S186-S201, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498819

RESUMEN

While Earth contains the only known example of life in the universe, it is possible that life elsewhere is fundamentally different from what we are familiar with. There is an increased recognition in the astrobiology community that the search for life should steer away from terran-specific biosignatures to those that are more inclusive to all life-forms. To start exploring the space of possibilities that life could occupy, we can try to dissociate life from the chemistry that composes it on Earth by envisioning how different life elsewhere could be in composition, lifestyle, medium, and form, and by exploring how the general principles that govern living systems on Earth might be found in different forms and environments across the Solar System. Exotic life-forms could exist on Mars or Venus, or icy moons like Europa and Enceladus, or even as a shadow biosphere on Earth. New perspectives on agnostic biosignature detection have also begun to emerge, allowing for a broader and more inclusive approach to seeking exotic life with unknown chemistry that is distinct from life as we know it on Earth.


Asunto(s)
Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre , Júpiter , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre/química , Exobiología , Sistema Solar , Planeta Tierra
10.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S107-S123, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498818

RESUMEN

All organisms living on Earth descended from a single, common ancestral population of cells, known as LUCA-the last universal common ancestor. Since its emergence, the diversity and complexity of life have increased dramatically. This chapter focuses on four key biological innovations throughout Earth's history that had a significant impact on the expansion of phylogenetic diversity, organismal complexity, and ecospace habitation. First is the emergence of the last universal common ancestor, LUCA, which laid the foundation for all life-forms on Earth. Second is the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, which resulted in global geochemical and biological transformations. Third is the appearance of a new type of cell-the eukaryotic cell-which led to the origin of a new domain of life and the basis for complex multicellularity. Fourth is the multiple independent origins of multicellularity, resulting in the emergence of a new level of complex individuality. A discussion of these four key events will improve our understanding of the intertwined history of our planet and its inhabitants and better inform the extent to which we can expect life at different degrees of diversity and complexity elsewhere.


Asunto(s)
Evolución Biológica , Planeta Tierra , Filogenia , Oxígeno , Fotosíntesis
11.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S57-S75, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498821

RESUMEN

The materials that form the diverse chemicals and structures on Earth-from mountains to oceans and biological organisms-all originated in a universe dominated by hydrogen and helium. Over billions of years, the composition and structure of the galaxies and stars evolved, and the elements of life, CHONPS, were formed through nucleosynthesis in stellar cores. Climactic events such as supernovae and stellar collisions produced heavier elements and spread them throughout the cosmos, often to be incorporated into new, more metal-rich stars. Stars typically form in molecular clouds containing small amounts of dust through the collapse of a high-density core. The surrounding nebular material is then pulled into a protoplanetary disk, from which planets, moons, asteroids, and comets eventually accrete. During the accretion of planetary systems, turbulent mixing can expose matter to a variety of different thermal and radiative environments. Chemical and physical changes in planetary system materials occur before and throughout the process of accretion, though many factors such as distance from the star, impact history, and level of heating experienced combine to ultimately determine the final geophysical characteristics. In Earth's planetary system, called the Solar System, after the orbits of the planets had settled into their current configuration, large impacts became rare, and the composition of and relative positions of objects became largely fixed. Further evolution of the respective chemical and physical environments of the planets-geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere-then became dependent on their local geochemistry, their atmospheric interactions with solar radiation, and smaller asteroid impacts. On Earth, the presence of land, air, and water, along with an abundance of important geophysical and geochemical phenomena, led to a habitable planet where conditions were right for life to thrive.


Asunto(s)
Planetas , Sistema Solar , Planeta Tierra , Atmósfera/química , Planetas Menores , Evolución Planetaria , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre/química
12.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S40-S56, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498820

RESUMEN

The question "What is life?" has existed since the beginning of recorded history. However, the scientific and philosophical contexts of this question have changed and been refined as advancements in technology have revealed both fine details and broad connections in the network of life on Earth. Understanding the framework of the question "What is life?" is central to formulating other questions such as "Where else could life be?" and "How do we search for life elsewhere?" While many of these questions are addressed throughout the Astrobiology Primer 3.0, this chapter gives historical context for defining life, highlights conceptual characteristics shared by all life on Earth as well as key features used to describe it, discusses why it matters for astrobiology, and explores both challenges and opportunities for finding an informative operational definition.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Exobiología , Proyectos de Investigación
13.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S164-S185, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498822

RESUMEN

The search for life beyond Earth necessitates a rigorous and comprehensive examination of biosignatures, the types of observable imprints that life produces. These imprints and our ability to detect them with advanced instrumentation hold the key to our understanding of the presence and abundance of life in the universe. Biosignatures are the chemical or physical features associated with past or present life and may include the distribution of elements and molecules, alone or in combination, as well as changes in structural components or physical processes that would be distinct from an abiotic background. The scientific and technical strategies used to search for life on other planets include those that can be conducted in situ to planetary bodies and those that could be observed remotely. This chapter discusses numerous strategies that can be employed to look for biosignatures directly on other planetary bodies using robotic exploration including those that have been deployed to other planetary bodies, are currently being developed for flight, or will become a critical technology on future missions. Search strategies for remote observations using current and planned ground-based and space-based telescopes are also described. Evidence from spectral absorption, emission, or transmission features can be used to search for remote biosignatures and technosignatures. Improving our understanding of biosignatures, their production, transformation, and preservation on Earth can enhance our search efforts to detect life on other planets.


Asunto(s)
Exobiología , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre , Planetas , Planeta Tierra
14.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S124-S142, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498824

RESUMEN

Scientific ideas about the potential existence of life elsewhere in the universe are predominantly informed by knowledge about life on Earth. Over the past ∼4 billion years, life on Earth has evolved into millions of unique species. Life now inhabits nearly every environmental niche on Earth that has been explored. Despite the wide variety of species and diverse biochemistry of modern life, many features, such as energy production mechanisms and nutrient requirements, are conserved across the Tree of Life. Such conserved features help define the operational parameters required by life and therefore help direct the exploration and evaluation of habitability in extraterrestrial environments. As new diversity in the Tree of Life continues to expand, so do the known limits of life on Earth and the range of environments considered habitable elsewhere. The metabolic processes used by organisms living on the edge of habitability provide insights into the types of environments that would be most suitable to hosting extraterrestrial life, crucial for planning and developing future astrobiology missions. This chapter will introduce readers to the breadth and limits of life on Earth and show how the study of life at the extremes can inform the broader field of astrobiology.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre , Exobiología
15.
Astrobiology ; 24(3): 328-338, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38507694

RESUMEN

Enceladus is of interest to astrobiology and the search for life since it is thought to host active hydrothermal activity and habitable conditions. It is also possible that the organics detected on Enceladus may indicate an active prebiotic or biotic system; in particular, the conditions on Enceladus may favor mineral-driven protometabolic reactions. When including metabolism-related biosignatures in Enceladus mission concepts, it is necessary to base these in a clearer understanding of how these signatures could also be produced prebiotically. In addition, postulating which biological metabolisms to look for on Enceladus requires a non-Earth-centric approach since the details of biological metabolic pathways are heavily shaped by adaptation to geochemical conditions over the planet's history. Creating metabolism-related organic detection objectives for Enceladus missions, therefore, requires consideration of how metabolic systems may operate differently on another world, while basing these speculations on observed Earth-specific microbial processes. In addition, advances in origin-of-life research can play a critical role in distinguishing between interpretations of any future organic detections on Enceladus, and the discovery of an extant prebiotic system would be a transformative astrobiological event in its own right.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Exobiología
16.
Astrobiology ; 24(S1): S143-S163, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38498826

RESUMEN

All known life on Earth inhabits environments that maintain conditions between certain extremes of temperature, chemical composition, energy availability, and so on (Chapter 6). Life may have emerged in similar environments elsewhere in the Solar System and beyond. The ongoing search for life elsewhere mainly focuses on those environments most likely to support life, now or in the past-that is, potentially habitable environments. Discussion of habitability is necessarily based on what we know about life on Earth, as it is our only example. This chapter gives an overview of the known and presumed requirements for life on Earth and discusses how these requirements can be used to assess the potential habitability of planetary bodies across the Solar System and beyond. We first consider the chemical requirements of life and potential feedback effects that the presence of life can have on habitable conditions, and then the planetary, stellar, and temporal requirements for habitability. We then review the state of knowledge on the potential habitability of bodies across the Solar System and exoplanets, with a particular focus on Mars, Venus, Europa, and Enceladus. While reviewing the case for the potential habitability of each body, we summarize the most prominent and impactful studies that have informed the perspective on where habitable environments are likely to be found.


Asunto(s)
Exobiología , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre , Planeta Tierra , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre/química , Planetas , Sistema Solar
18.
J R Soc Interface ; 21(211): 20230585, 2024 02.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38321922

RESUMEN

The idea that the Earth system self-regulates in a habitable state was proposed in the 1970s by James Lovelock, who conjectured that life plays a self-regulatory role on a planetary-level scale. A formal approach to such hypothesis was presented afterwards under a toy model known as the Daisyworld. The model showed how such life-geosphere homeostasis was an emergent property of the system, where two species with different properties adjusted their populations to the changing external environment. So far, this ideal world exists only as a mathematical or computational construct, but it would be desirable to have a real, biological implementation of Lovelock's picture beyond our one biosphere. Inspired by the exploration of synthetic ecosystems using genetic engineering and recent cell factory designs, here we propose a possible implementation for a microbial Daisyworld. This includes: (i) an explicit proposal for an engineered design of a two-strain consortia, using pH as the external, abiotic control parameter and (ii) several theoretical and computational case studies including two, three and multiple species assemblies. The special alternative implementations and their implications in other synthetic biology scenarios, including ecosystem engineering, are outlined.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Ecosistema , Homeostasis , Consorcios Microbianos , Biología Sintética
19.
J Intern Med ; 295(5): 695-706, 2024 May.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38420693

RESUMEN

The emergence of the planetary health approach was highlighted by the report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health in 2015 and changed how we comprehend human well-being. The report advocates integrating the health of other living beings and Earth's natural systems as intrinsic components of human health. Drawing on over three decades of experience in respiratory epidemiology and environmental health, this article outlines how my perspective on human health underwent a transformative shift upon reading the abovementioned report. The planetary health approach offers a lens through which human health issues and potential solutions can be understood within the context of the Anthropocene. It addresses the pressing existential challenges arising from humanity's transgression of planetary limits. Embracing the planetary health paradigm within the field of health sciences can catalyze transformative changes essential for cultivating a sustainable and equitable future.


Asunto(s)
Salud Ambiental , Medicina , Humanos , Planeta Tierra , Predicción
20.
Sci Rep ; 14(1): 3691, 2024 02 14.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38355968

RESUMEN

The universe is a vast store of organic abiotic carbon that could potentially drive heterotrophy on habitable planets. Meteorites are one of the transporters of this carbon to planetary surfaces. Meteoritic material was accumulating on early Earth when life emerged and proliferated. Yet it is not known if this organic carbon from space was accessible to life. In this research, an anaerobic microbial community was grown with the CM2 carbonaceous chondrite Aguas Zarcas as the sole carbon, energy and nutrient source. Using a reversed 13C-stable isotope labelling experiment in combination with optical photothermal infrared (O-PTIR) spectroscopy of single cells, this paper demonstrates the direct transfer of carbon from meteorite into microbial biomass. This implies that meteoritic organics could have been used as a carbon source on early Earth and other habitable planets, and supports the potential for a heterotrophic metabolism in early living systems.


Asunto(s)
Carbono , Meteoroides , Carbono/química , Planeta Tierra , Planetas , Medio Ambiente Extraterrestre
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