Italian researchers find traces of life in meteorites: press
ROME (AFP) May 10, 2001
Italian researchers have found traces of life in 4.5 billion-year-old meteorites, according to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Geologist Bruno D'Argegno and molecular biologist Giuseppe Geraci, both from the Federico II University in Naples, borrowed meteorite samples from a local museum and introduced them to a "physiological solution," D'Argegno told the paper.

"Then we saw these micro-organisms appear and begin to move," the researcher said.

The scientists noted 78 different types of bacteria -- known as crystallo-microbes or "crim" for short -- which they identified as being similar to ones which existed on Earth some 3.5 billion years ago.

The bacteria were described as very primitive organisms, with a DNA network but no immune system.

The two Italian experts presented their conclusions to the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on Wednesday, the paper said.

The space agency's scientific director, astrophsicist Giovanni F. Bignami hailed the findings as "an excellent basis for boosting research programmes dedicated to the search for life on other planets in the solar system."