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Old 06-15-2008, 02:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Life may have originated off of Earth

View: Scientists confirm that parts of earliest genetic material may have come from the stars
Source: Imperial (http://www3.imperial.ac.uk)
Abstract: "Scientists from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering discover early genetic material in space rock"
"Scientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin, in a paper published on 15 June 2008."
Quote:
Scientists confirm that parts of earliest genetic material may have come from the stars
13 Jun 2008
by Imperial College
from Imperial, http://www3.imperial.ac.uk




The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars.

The scientists, from Europe and the USA, say that their research, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, provides evidence that life’s raw materials came from sources beyond the Earth.

Genetic material from space rock

The materials they have found include the molecules uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, and are known as nucleobases.

The team discovered the molecules in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969.

They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth.

The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.

Lead author Dr Zita Martins, of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says that the research may provide another piece of evidence explaining the evolution of early life. She says:

“We believe early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.”

Between 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago large numbers of rocks similar to the Murchison meteorite rained down on Earth at the time when primitive life was forming. The heavy bombardment would have dropped large amounts of meteorite material to the surface on planets like Earth and Mars.

Co-author Professor Mark Sephton, also of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, believes this research is an important step in understanding how early life might have evolved. He added:

“Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life -- including nucleobases -- could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life’s raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely.”

So the building blocks of life may have come from space. Reading this does not affect me greatly. My perspective of where humans came from has expanded but it doesn't change a whole lot in me. I wanted to post this in philosophy to hear other people's reactions to this, but I will see if it gets enough thought here.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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To me it sort of helps add up things I've thought all along.

I'm still quite certain there is life out there, in one form or another.

All it takes is the right combination of certain events and surroundings.

There is bound to be other planets like ours, we just cant explore there yet.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Very interesting article. Starts to explain our facination with heaven,
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"Other" forms of life may be all around us, bisecting realities and unrecognizable. Like frequencies to the radio, if the equipment can't tune it in, you'll never get the program. One never knowing of the other. One knowing, the other not. Endless possibilities.

If a three-dimensional beach ball briefly passes through a two-dimensional universe, 2-D person may suddenly see a circle appear and disappear... A ghost? A UFO?



The article is very interesting and I believe plausible. Why not?
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So the precursors of nucleobases may have come from outside this solar system? That's definitely interesting, but it's not life "originating off of earth".

Last edited by sapiens; 06-15-2008 at 09:38 AM.. Reason: added underlining
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapiens
That's definitely interesting, but it's not life "originating off of earth".
[quote=article]Scientists confirm that parts of earliest genetic material may have come from the stars[/article]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hain
Life may have originated off of Earth...

...So the building blocks of life may have come from space.
Who said it did come from space?
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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One day we'll discover extraterrestrial life. I just hope I'll be alive then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starshine

Who said it did come from space?
What do you mean? It came from a meteorite that crashed on earth. What other possibilities are there?
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Last edited by biznatch; 06-15-2008 at 10:10 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biznatch
What do you mean? It came from a meteorite that crashed on earth. What other possibilities are there?
I think she meant that the article does not definitively claim that life did originate from outerspace.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hain
I think she meant that the article does not definitively claim that life did originate from outerspace.
Heck, definitive or not, it does not make any claims about life - just uracil and xanthine.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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this makes perfect sense to me
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottopilot
The article is very interesting and I believe plausible. Why not?
Yes, it is very interesting.
And as far as plausability goes...I find it to be at least as plausible as some other explainations that have been brought forward since mankind was first able wonder...why...where...and who.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapiens
So the precursors of nucleobases may have come from outside this solar system? That's definitely interesting, but it's not life "originating off of earth".
No, but the stuff that makes life may very well have. Kind of like pollen and spores floating around in an open field...not? Who's to say that these same life building goodies didn't find themselves coming elsewhere?

In the end, it is just that...interesting. People will either accept or refuse the possibilities, for any number of reasons. It's just another ingredient in the soup of mysteries that make up our existence. Imagine the possibilities though...
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O'Rights
No, but the stuff that makes life may very well have. Kind of like pollen and spores floating around in an open field...not? Who's to say that these same life building goodies didn't find themselves coming elsewhere?
I don't think that the pollen or spores metaphor is apt. Pollen and spores contain the genetic information required to produce the organism. Uracil on its own does not. My understanding is that there is tentative evidence that certain nucleobases may have originated from outside this solar system. This doesn't mean that these nucleobases were replicating when they got here (the function of pollen or spores).

I guess I'm more interested in how life began than how the compounds that allowed for life got here.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Very interesting article.

People should also consider that we're all effectively made of stardust, anyway. All heavy elements, elements past helium, had to be manufactured inside a star, and then spread out through space via stellar death (planetary nebulae or supernovae).

So it's definitely interesting that life-critical components may have been delivered from space, but as for life originating off of Earth, I think this is unlikely. It's possible that it could have come from Mars or elsewhere in the solar system (exchange between planets is feasible), but from beyond is highly improbable.

I'll try to back up my claims with sources later [too close to my bedtime]. In the meantime, just google "panspermia."
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Warning: If you google panspermia a pregnancy may result.

Interesting article, although its also known that bacteria can survive in the vacuum of space, living inside meteors, asteroids or comets. These could have directly seeded the earth from an as of yet unknown body. No need for the precursors if the single cell organisms already exist.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Not surprising.

Really, there's our planet, and there's the rest of the universe. Which is more likely to give original rise to lifeforms?
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:21 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I for one think aliens put us here. Look at all the old bible stories with tales likek people going to heaven in a firey chariot. And all the symbols you can only see from space. that's where our facination with "the heavens" comes from!
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Have you read Chariots of the Gods before, thingstodo?
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hain
Have you read Chariots of the Gods before, thingstodo?
I think I may have read some of it years ago. Looking at its premise I'm sure I read it! The movie Stargate makes a great deal of sense as well.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:41 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thingstodo
The movie Stargate makes a great deal of sense as well.
Not to mention being one of the most awesome movies of all time. Like I said before, "Aliens and mythology are just two different types of popcorn fun. They can't be mixed together well, unless you are Roland Emmerich directing Stargate."
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Another reasonable theory of abiogenesis. Personally, I love the beautiful simplicity demonstrated by the Miller-Urey experiment, where organic monomers formed from simple gasses which were present billions of years ago on Earth... but honestly, as long as it's not "The Earth was created 6000 years ago..." I'm fine with it.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:50 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel
Another reasonable theory of abiogenesis. Personally, I love the beautiful simplicity demonstrated by the Miller-Urey experiment, where organic monomers formed from simple gasses which were present billions of years ago on Earth... but honestly, as long as it's not "The Earth was created 6000 years ago..." I'm fine with it.
Since we now have two elements that remind me of it, I really recommend to anyone that has not seen the series, rent or buy Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan. If nothing more, you will learn that Sagan loved to use the phrase "...billions and billions..."
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:57 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I believe there is a Cosmos marathon this weekend. AWESOME show.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:51 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I believe there is a Cosmos marathon this weekend. AWESOME show.
You are correct!
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