Extremophiles are 1) ___ that have adapted to extreme environments, such as Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Because of advances in computer technology and 2) __ testing, researchers are identifying new species faster than ever. Among the latest discoveries are tiny microorganisms, one hundred, of which, fit on the head of a pin. Scientists have discovered a new species of microbe living in Utah’s Great Salt Lake. The new species is part of a group of organisms called 3) ___ because they can survive in extreme environments that would kill a human being in mere seconds: extreme heat or cold, for example. The new organism is classified as a “halophile,” or 4) ___-loving micro-organism, because it thrives in water that is ten times saltier than the sea. The new microbe is rod-shaped and orange-red in color, and measures only 1.5 microns long. Among its most interesting features is its abundance of 5) ___ pigments, which makes it completely resistant to damaging UV rays from the sun. Studying the microbe’s unique properties could lead to new ways to protect humans from UV 6) ___. The newly discovered microbe belongs to the Halorubrum (“salt red”) genus. Some 1.7 million species have been identified on earth, but scientists believe the total number is between 5 million and 10 million. Scientists discover thousands of new species every year.
ANSWERS: 1) microbes; 2) DNA; 3) extremophiles; 4) salt; 5) carotenoid; 6) damage