A geologist working for the Italian National Research Council and a professor of molecular biology at Naples University identified and brought back to life extraterrestrial microorganisms lodged inside 4.5 billion-year-old meteorites kept at Naples’ mineralogical museum. The bacteria, called “cryms” (for crystal microbes) by the researchers, remained dormant for billions of years and survived extreme ambient conditions – a clear indication, according to the researchers, that “life can exist everywhere in the solar system, though in a quiescent state.” Once brought back to life, the cryms were cloned by the researchers and their DNA analyzed. “Their genetic code is unlike any known on Earth,” said the scientific director of the Italian Space Agency.

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