• Question: Recent research involved geneticists creating artifical genetic material bonding 'larger' nitrogenous bases to other 'larger' molecules, or smaller to smaller. Do you think aliens can exist with this 'fatter' or 'thinner' genetic material?

    Asked by lectureattendee to Judith, Gemma, Emma on 1 Feb 2019.
    • Photo: Emma Meaburn

      Emma Meaburn answered on 1 Feb 2019:


      ek! I have not thought about this, and do not know of the specific study/research you mention. I think life (either an animal, plant or single-celled life form) most likely does exist outside of what we know, but it might well use a very different genetic system to pass information on from one cell to another.

    • Photo: Judith Sleeman

      Judith Sleeman answered on 1 Feb 2019:


      Do you mean this work on XNAs?

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21720-move-over-dna-six-new-molecules-can-carry-genes/

      Or has there been a different approach taken since then? I don’t see why different genetic material couldn’t have evolved under different conditions, though we have no evidence that it has done!

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