RESOURCE: Some Like It Hot, or Cold, or Acidic

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Science  04 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5616, pp. 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5616.27b

This scalding pool in Yellowstone National Park might seem too hostile for life, but rugged microbes known as archaea find it comfy. ArchaeaWeb, curated by microbial genomicist Neil Saunders of the University of New South Wales in Australia, brims with genetic and biochemical information on archaea and extremophiles: bugs that thrive in scorching heat, fierce cold, or other seemingly inhospitable conditions.

To help you follow the latest developments, the site announces hot new papers and freshly completed archaea genomes. You can also search genome sequences from the site. A database details the properties of more than 100 “cold enzymes” that work at the frigid temperatures some of these microbes relish. For a change of pace, check out the links to sites on exobiology, or the study of possible life beyond Earth. If organisms do exist on places like Jupiter's ice-coated moon Europa, some scientists speculate that they might resemble earthly extremophiles.

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