Interstellar evolution: Why life could emerge anywhere in the universe

n lxrabtbe pqchvho mta
Credit: Cam Floyd

[T]he impetus to go interstellar might have nothing to do with dreams of exploration or empire, but all to do with fundamental biology. A billion-year-old sentient species may exhaust its options if it stays at home and remains genetically isolated.

Even if life is built out of different stuff in different places in the cosmos, that might not matter. As long as you can decode the informational algorithms behind the organisms and their heritable material, you can incorporate those into your own kind of substrates.

We could, today, use electromagnetic radiation to transmit selected “highlights” of gene data from planet Earth to other stars in the hope of an exchange. Interstellar horizontal gene transfer need not involve physical movement, but could enhance the fitness of any participating species. There is little incentive to transmit deleterious informational algorithms either, since you want all of those other living experiments to continue to churn out their results.

Related article:  Searching for the origins of male aggression: Nature, nurture or both?
Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

In other words, the ultimate currency of life in the universe may be life itself: The marvelous genetic surprises that biological and technological Darwinian experimentation can come up with given enough diversity of circumstances and time. Perhaps, in the end, our galaxy, and even our universe, is simply the test tube for a vast chemical computation exploring a mathematical terrain of possibilities that stretches on to infinity.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Nigeriacotton

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend