On Thursday, researchers announced that they are able to create a DNA-like molecular system that can store and transmit information. It is not a life form, but the genetic system represents what may be an alternative to life based on DNA.
It could also help scientists to have a different image if they are looking for life elsewhere in the universe.
"Life-tracking is an increasingly important goal of NASA's planetary science missions, and this new work will help us develop effective tools and experiments that expand the scope of what we seek," said Lori Glaze, vice president Director of the NASA Planetary Science Division in a statement.
DNA is like a toolkit that stores and transmits vital information transmitted by a living organism to its offspring. The constituents of the molecule, called nucleotides, are four components called adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.
The synthetic DNA includes these components as well as four other components that serve as copies of the information in the DNA. This creates the double helix structure that, according to the study, stores and transmits information. Like regular DNA, it can also develop information.
The university research team in the United States calls it hachimoji DNA. in Japanese, the name means "eight letters".
The role of shape, size and structure in hachimoji DNA expands our understanding of the types of molecules that can store information in extraterrestrial life on alien worlds, "he said Study author Steven Benner, founder of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida, said in a statement.
The study is only the beginning of a larger discussion about what kinds of genetic systems could support the emergence of life and where they might exist But when you structure something foreign, it's easier to imagine it living in an area that was considered inhospitable.
For example, NASA sees the oceans of our solar system as the moons of Europe and Enceladus as potential locations for a life outside the earth Meanwhile, the Curiosity Rover looks for clues to the past life on Mars. 19659002] "Including a broader understanding of what's possible in our instrument design and mission concepts will lead to a more inclusive and therefore more effective search for life outside the Earth," said Mary Voytek, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at NASA Headquarters.