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Search Begins for Life in Antarctic Lake

Lake Ellsworth has been isolated for up to 500K years

(Newser) - What lurks in the pitch black, near-freezing waters of Lake Ellsworth? That's what British researchers, who began their trek to the lake in October 2011, hope to find out in as soon as a week. They've begun drilling through more than two miles of ice to reach the... More »

Scientists: Let's End the War on Germs

Scientists trying to map body's microbes, tend them like wildlife rangers

(Newser) - There might be up to 100 species of microbes living in your mouth right now—and that's probably a good thing. A growing number of scientists say it's time to stop trying to eradicate germs, and to start treating our bodies the way ecologists treat wildlife preserves, the... More »

10K Microbial Species Inhabit ... You

Research could help with treatment of disease

(Newser) - After five years of research, scientists have developed the first genetic map of the "human microbiome"—the more than 10,000 distinct microbial species that reside on and in your body. To do so, they collected tissue samples from 242 healthy Americans from different sites (or "habitats"... More »

Beneath Pacific Lies Ancient, Barely Alive Bacteria

Bacteria 100 feet under ocean floor haven't had new food since time of dinosaurs

(Newser) - Some 100 feet below the most nutrient-starved part of the Pacific Ocean floor, incredibly old life exists. In the most detailed look yet at the lifestyles of "extremophile" bacteria, scientists have determined that the organisms have survived for what could be as long as millions of years solely on... More »

Scientists Make Seaweed-Fuel Breakthrough

Next hurdle: bringing it to market

(Newser) - Algae-based fuel is a step closer to reality. Scientists in California have genetically modified a microbe so that it can convert seaweed into biofuel, the Guardian reports. "Natural seaweed species grow very fast—10 times faster than normal plants—and are full of sugars, but it has been very... More »

Inside Your Belly Button: A Ton of Mysterious Bacteria

In 95 samples, 662 new strains found

(Newser) - Breaking science news: Your belly button is kinda gross. A new study, the amusingly named Belly Button Biodiversity project, found more than 1,400 strains of bacteria in 95 navel swab samples, the Washington Post reports. Of those, 662 couldn't be classified to a family—suggesting those microbes are... More »

'Bio-Batteries:' Microbe Energy Comes Closer

Scientists move closer to harnessing bacteria's natural electricity

(Newser) - Microbe-powered devices could be just a decade away thanks to new findings about how the tiny organisms release natural electric charges, researchers say. Scientists have discovered atom-size "wires" sticking through the cell walls of bacteria. The finding will allow researchers to design electrodes that can pick up electrical charges... More »

You Could Soon Be Classified by Gut Bacteria

Scientists find just three distinct microbe ecosystems

(Newser) - Humans can be identified by their blood type, but soon they may also be able to be classified by their "bug type," the New York Times reports. Scientists have discovered that, in the guts of people recently studied, there are three distinct types of microbe ecosystems. Since gut... More »

1,000 Species of Bacteria Crawling on Our Skin

(Newser) - We're not alone. A new study by the National Institutes of Health estimates that 1,000 different species of bacteria inhabit our skin, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some specialize in the terrain of the armpit or the belly button, while others prefer drier (and less populated) locales such as... More »

Under Antarctic Glacier, Life Exists Without Light, Oxygen

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered an Antarctic ecosystem of microorganisms cut off from light and oxygen for as many as 2 million years, the Guardian reports. The microbes, living under one-third of a mile of ice, in a 14-degree lake four times as salty as seawater, give researchers clues to how life... More »

Scientists Hatch Round-Trip Mission to Mars

Unmanned spacecraft would bring back rocks and possibly microscopic life

(Newser) - Before scientists can put a man on Mars, they first need to figure out how to get a mission back to Earth, reports the Guardian. An international team is doing just that—developing an $8 billion mission to travel to Mars and return with rock samples and possibly microscopic life.... More »

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