Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms

Image Credit:scientificamerican

Scientists have reproduced what life was like for some of the oldest species on Earth using light-capturing proteins found in living microorganisms

These initiatives may enable us to spot life on distant worlds, whose atmospheres mirror our pre-oxygen planet more closely.

The oldest known life existed on an ocean-dominated world without an ozone layer to shield it from the sun's radiation

These early life forms included bacteria and single-celled animals known as archaea. Rhodopsins, proteins with the capacity to convert sunlight into energy

these were developed by these bacteria and are now used to fuel cellular functions.

"Energy might have been extremely scarce on the early Earth

Without the intricate biomolecules needed for photosynthesis, bacteria and archaea discovered a way to utilise the sun's abundant energy

"Edward Schwieterman, an astrobiologist at UC Riverside and a co-author of a report outlining the research, made this statement.

The research team examined rhodopsin protein sequences from all over the world and followed the evolution of these sequences over time using machine learning

As a result, they were able to rebuild rhodopsins from 2.5 to 4 billion years ago and the environments they probably lived in.

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