What Does Life Want?

We explore the natural selection of elements. MUSE is a NASA Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research at the University of Arizona.

What are the essential attributes of life, and how should they shape our notions of habitability and the search for life on other worlds?

Motivated by this broad question, the MUSE (Metal Utilization and Selection across Eons) team explores the natural selection of the chemical elements during the coevolution of life and environment on Earth, focusing on metal use in the biological nitrogen (N) cycle.

Our unifying question translates into a research project focused on the evolution of metal use in the biochemistry of N acquisition. We carry out geochemical and biological investigations that involve ancient materials, experiments, and modern natural systems.

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