Sunday, March 24, 2013

Philosophy Wire: Iron, manganese, life...

130321205712-large_thumb[2]Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2013-03-24]:

Scientists have confirmed that the pathogen that causes Lyme Disease - unlike any other known organism -- can exist without iron, a metal that all other life needs to make proteins and enzymes. Instead of iron, the bacteria substitute manganese to make an essential enzyme (and in fact this helps the pathogen elude our immune system defenses that protect the body by starving pathogens of iron). [source: Science News] If you ask me, I believe this does not stop at manganese. If organisms did not have access to either iron or manganese, they would surely use some other metal or even non-metal substance. Life seems to be an inherent characterisric of the cosmos and nothing so mundane as iron or manganese is "essential" for it...


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