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Nanobes are tiny filamental structures first found in some rocks and sediments. Some hypothesize that they are the smallest form of life, ten times smaller than the smallest known bacteria.

Nanobes were discovered in 1996 (published in American Minerologist, vol 83., 1998) by Philipa Uwins, University of Queensland, Australia.

The smallest are just 20 nanometers in diameter. Some researchers believe them to be merely crystal growths, but a purported find of DNA in nanobe samples [1] may prove otherwise. They are similar to the life-like structures found in ALH84001, the famous Mars meteorite from the Antarctic. Recently there has been some interest amongst bio-tech companies in commercial application of nanobes in utilization of plastics. Some researchers believe nanobe-like organisms might be implicated in a number of diseases. They might be responsible for the formation of some types of renal stones. They might even explain mysterious calcification of teeth in the human mouth, and thus actually be a useful or necessary symbiont (like Acidophilus).

Nanobes and nanobacteria are both controversial and unproven concepts; however, these two should not be confused. Nanobacteria are supposed to be walled organisms, while nanobes are hypothesized to be a previously unknown form of life. The origins of discovery, naming, and research methods also differ.



  • It is a living organism (contains DNA or some analogue, and reproduces).
  • Has a morphology similar to Actinomycetes and Fungi.
  • Nanobes are 20 nm in length which conventional biological knowledge assumes is too small to contain the basic elements for an organism to exist (DNA, plasmids, etc.), suggesting that they may reproduce via some unconventional means, like RNA instead of DNA.
  • The Martian meteorite ALH84001, discovered in 1996 in the Antarctic, contained similar tubular structures which some astrobiologists suggest could be proof of life at an earlier time on Mars.


  • The Discovery Team's web site and Published Paper in American Mineralogist

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanobe". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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