Modern hot environments, such as those found in hydrothermal vents, are of great interest to the scientific community because they resemble those ancient environments where life first arose on Earth and also share many characteristics with environments in other planets where life may have actually existed. Evidence to date strongly indicates that Fe(III) respiration may have been one of the first, if not the first, forms of respiration in a hot, early Earth. The abundance of Fe(III) minerals in many modern and ancient hot environments suggests that studies of Fe(III)-reducing hyperthermophilic micro-organisms are likely to be instrumental for our understanding of how life originated and evolved at high temperatures. The isolation and characterization of novel hyperthermophilic, Fe(III)-reducing micro-organisms has greatly increased our understanding of how microbes can live and thrive in such inhospitable environments. The study of these amazing microbes provides clues as to how life might have arisen on Earth and has implications for our search for traces of life in other planets.

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