DR PHILIPPA UWINS, WHISTLER RESEARCH PTY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR PHILIPPA UWINS, WHISTLER RESEARCH PTY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nanobes. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of nano-organisms, or nanobes (brown) in sandstone. These are thought to be the smallest possible self-replicating organisms, 20 to 150 nanometres in size, smaller than other bacteria. They were found in 200 million year old sandstones taken from 3-5 kilometres below the seabed. When the rocks were opened, the nanobes multiplied and grew in the laboratory. Tests show they contain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the molecule which contains the instructions for life. They were discovered by Philippa Uwins at the University of Queensland, Australia. Magnification unknown.
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