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NASA opens a new form of DNA in search of extraterrestrial life



Scientists funded by NASA have developed a new type of DNA-like structure that can store and transmit information – and can lead to new ways of finding extraterrestrial life.

The breakthrough discovery implies that there may be alternative, unimaginable forms of DNA-based life as we know it on Earth. The life of other worlds can be built using various molecular systems of the type developed by researchers in the laboratory, NASA experts have suggested.

DNA is a complex molecule that allows the genetic information that makes us be stored and then transmitted. This information is transmitted by a parent of offspring to every living creature on earth and allows life to grow and develop.

It consists of four different constituents that scientists call nucleotides and are common to all of life on our planet. ,

Presenting forms of life that can use different structures – and develop ways h and their discovery – is a central part of NASA's work. The new project, which has not only predicted but has created such a molecule.

"Life Detection is an increasingly important goal of NASA's planetary science missions, and this new job will help us develop effective tools and experiments that will expand the scope of what we are looking for," said Laurie Glas, Executive Director of Planetary Science at NASA.

The new study saw that scientists created a new type of molecular system that functions as DNA, but there is an important difference. Instead of the usual four ingredients, it contains eight.

It contains all four of Earth's life: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. But there are four extra, synthetic ones that mimic the structures of ingredients found in ordinary DNA.

Researchers call the new creation "hachimoji" DNA – haci means eight in Japanese, and moji means a letter. like our DNA, meeting the same requirements that allow it to store and transmit information

This means that the types of molecules that can store information in the life of extraterrestrial worlds can be similar in a different way. in different ways than on Earth, at the most fundamental level – meaning that an environment in which life bound to Earth can never live can abound with unimaginable forms of life.

"Including a wider understanding of what is possible in our instrument and the concepts of the mission will lead to a more comprehensive and therefore more efficient search for life outside the earth," said Mary Voytek, senior astrobiology scientist at the headquarters of NASA. 9177]
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