DNA, codes, garbage bins…


A paper published last year in Icarus, the prestigious journal of planetary science, asked if it was possible that terrestrial life on Earth had been ‘seeded’ from beyond the Earth – and if so, does the building block of that life, DNA, contain any sort of message from our alien creators. Using mathematics, the authors of the paper – “The “Wow! signal” of the terrestrial genetic code” – looked for evidence of a statistically strong ‘informational’ signal in the genetic code, with surprising results.

The DNA data, according to the paper, display readily recognizable hallmarks of artificiality.


This was not the first time that Icarus had featured a paper entertaining the idea of ‘biological SETI’. In 1979 the journal – under editor Carl Sagan – published a paper titled “Is bacteriophage φX174 DNA a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence?”, written by Japanese biochemists Hiromitsu Yokoo and Tairo Oshima. Given how crazy the idea sounded, Sagan asked a young protégé, David Grinspoon (now a prominent astrobiologist in his own right), to check out the paper to assess whether it was legitimate. (1)

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Despite of the outcome – which will need of course more research to validate – what is important is that science can only progress if it analyzes the obvious. Question what is right in front of your, ask about things taken for granted and you shall see miracles. There is no such thing as “junk” (junk DNA). Even the trashiest garbage bin can contain gold…

> Check Philosophical Garbage for gold…

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