I have been more absent than usual from this blog, which is something I regret. However, the time constraints of preparing for my upcoming qualifying exam necessitate this. I decided to break my strict “no distractions” policy to bring you this bit of info that was emailed to me by a lab mate.
Scientists have discovered DNA components in a meteorite, and they seem to be fairly certain it was made there! You can read the actual NASA press release here, and check out a cool video of one of the scientists explaining the discovery here. The cliff notes version is that, while claims of meteorites containing DNA components have been made before, they may very well have been terrestrial contamination. This seems to be different, because the meteorite also contains similar molecules that are never found in biological matter, which is what would be expected if the DNA molecules (technically nucleobases) were created chemically on the meteorite. This has implications for the evolution of life on earth, and all those big exciting questions about how the search for alien life.
The actual paper (which I admit, I have not had time to read yet) can be found, freely accessible here, in the most recent issue of PNAS.
I know, this might remind you of another fairly recent NASA press release that seemed to tease us with hints of alien life, but I, personally, am much more optimistic about this one.
Thats all for now, wish me luck studying. I promise all sorts of exciting new microbial knowledge to share after I (hopefully) emerge “Docrotral Candidate” from the other side of this exam.