Posted by: arrogantscientist | October 7, 2010

What don’t we know yet?

We don’t know how many blueprints for life there are.

The diversity of life on Earth is staggering. There are bacteria that can live in oil, vampire bats, cockroaches that can survive nuclear war, whales more than 33 metres long, mammals that can think, learn and understand their world.

Yet no matter how different any two organisms, all life shares the same basic set up. Reproducible instructions are read translated into all the life we see around us, with the sole purpose of passing those instructions onto the next generation.

Nucleic acids, particularly DNA, are the only molecules known that can carry the information required for life. Are there others? If we one day find extraterrestrial life, will it contain DNA? With only one data point, we can’t even know if life on earth is even diverse. There may be types of life out there that we can’t even imagine. It would be nice to find out.

Support the Science is Vital campaign. Join more that 20,000 scientists that have signed the petition calling for the protection of science research funding in the UK.


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