Did asbestos help life evolve?


EARTHQUAKES and asbestos may seem an unlikely alliance to help life evolve on early Earth, yet they could have done just that. Sea-floor fissures lined with an asbestos mineral called chrysotile are places where life could have gained a foothold 3.5 billion years ago. To mimic that environment, Naoto Yoshida and Nori Fujiura of the University of Miyazaki in Japan formed a bacterial biofilm on a layer of gum. They added chrysotile minerals, bacterial DNA molecules called plasmids that had genes for antibiotic resistance,
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