Artificial DNA points the way to alien life

A strange, new genetic code a lot like that found in all terrestrial life is sitting in a beaker full of oily water in a laboratory in Florida…the first example of an artificial chemical system that is capable of Darwinian evolution.

The system is made of the four molecules that are the basic building blocks of our DNA along with eight synthetic modifications of them, said biochemist Steven A. Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution.

The main difference between the synthetic molecules and those that make up conventional DNA is that Benner’s molecules cannot make copies of themselves, although that is just “a couple of years” away, he said…

The research resulted from a NASA-funded project to try to understand what life might look like beyond Earth. Such life might live in water, but it could also live in liquid nitrogen or methane (as speculated for Saturn’s moon Titan) and in environments with extremely high or low acidity…

Not the first researcher to accomplish this – not the last. There are geneticists like Craig Ventner who probably have bigger budgets nowadays. 🙂

Sooner or later, experiments like this will grow into advanced stages, living organisms, and our politicians and priests will all get their knickers in a bunch over it.

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