Sunday, November 30, 2014

DNA Can Survive Reentry from Space

In a new study published today in PLOS ONE, a team of Swiss and German scientists report that they dotted the exterior grooves of a rocket with fragments of DNA to test the genetic material’s stability in space. Surprisingly, they discovered that some of those building blocks of life remained intact during the hostile conditions of the flight and could pass on genetic information even after exiting and reentering the atmosphere during a roughly 13-minute round trip into space.

The findings suggest that if DNA traveled through space on meteorites, it could have conceivably survived, says lead author Oliver Ullrich of the University of Zurich. Moreover, he says, “DNA attached to a spacecraft has the potential to contaminate other celestial bodies, making it difficult to determine whether a life form existed on another planet or was introduced there by spacecraft.”

- More Here

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