‘Alien’ DNA Discovered: Breakthrough Could Mean Life Exists in Outer Space?
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | May 8, 2014 10:30 PM EST
For the first time in history, scientists have made it possible for an organism to survive with artificial DNA, which could not only make it possible to make new medicines, or other useful molecules; but it could also potentially prove the theory that live exists in outer space.
An 'Alien' DNA has been discovered in a massive scientific breakthrough that could possibly prove that life in outer space exists. (Representational Picture: Wikimedia Commons)
For billions of years, the history of life has been written with just four letters - A, T, C and G, the labels given to the DNA subunits contained in all organisms. That alphabet has just grown longer, with the creation of a living cell that has two 'foreign' DNA building blocks in its genome, the Science Journal Nature notes.
The latest study moves life beyond the four letters - the molecules or bases that pair up in the DNA helix - and introduces two new letters of life called X and Y.
The research could eventually lead to the production of completely new proteins that could be used for medical purposes or industrial products, while the breakthrough adds credibility to the theory that life in outer space could exist entirely without the DNA that exists on Earth, the Russian Times notes.
"What we have now is a living cell that literally stores increased genetic information," the news outlet quoted Floyd Rosesberg, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, who led the 15-year study.
"This shows that other solutions to storing information are possible and of course, takes us close to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications - from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology."
Rosemberg started out with E coli, a bug normally found in soil and carried by people. Inside the bug, he inserted a loop of genetic material that carried normal DNA and two synthetic DNA bases.
The living organisms: G,T, C and A come together to form two base pairs, G-C and T-A, while the extra synthetic DNA forms a third based pair, X-Y, according to the study published in Nature. These base pairs are used to make genes where cells make proteins.
"This is just a beautiful piece of work," Matin Fussenegger, a synthetic biologist at ETH Zurich told the Guardian. "DNA replication is really the cream of the crop of evolution which operates the same way in all living systems. Seeing that this machinery works with synthetic base pairs is just fascinating."
"The arrival of this unprecedented 'alien' life form could in time have far-reaching ethical, legal and regulatory implications," Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, a Canadian advocacy organization, told the New York Times. "While synthetic biologists invent new ways to monkey with the fundamentals of life, governments haven't even been able to cobble together the basics of oversight, assessment or regulation for this surging field."
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Boards London Train in Casual Disguise, Royal Couple’s Incognito Plan A Huge Hit [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Heads to Malta For New Movie After A Whirlwind French Wedding [PHOTOS]
- 2014 US Open: Hottest Male Tennis Players To Watch [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- UFO Sighting in Australia: A Mysterious 'Flying' Object With Changing Colors Observed[Watch Video]
- Volcano Eruption In Iceland: Lava Erupts More Than 50 Meters High, Prompts Aviation Alert [Video]
- Stargazing: Saturn, Moon and Mars Meet Up Last August 31
- Walking Fish Reveal How Our Ancestors Evolved Onto Land (Watch Video)
- Bad Memories Can be Changed into Good Ones, Say Scientists
- Pricey iPhone 6 on Release Date Likely but with 3X Retina Resolution & Mobile Payment Service – Reports
- 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 is iPhone Air on Sept 19 Release Date: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying
- Google Nexus 8 Confirmed as HTC T1 aka Volantis/Flounder with Freshly-Leaked Specs & Features – Reports
- PlayStation 4 Killing Xbox One Costing Microsoft Millions But It's Fine
- Europe, US Next on ISIS’ Hit List, Says Saudi King; Seized ISIS Laptop Reveals Terrifying Bio-Warfare Plans
- iPhone 6 On Release Date To Feature Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE, 1GB RAM, Mobile Payment Deal With AMEX, 1334x750 Display
- Google Can Kill Samsung with Android KitKat and Android One: Here's How