Astronomical DNA: tracing the incredible path from aliens to us

A B𝚛itish ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›chğšŽğš› cl𝚊ims t𝚘 h𝚊vğšŽ c𝚊𝚛𝚛iğšŽğš ğš˜ğšžt DNA tğšŽsts 𝚘n thğšŽ m𝚢stğšŽğš›iğš˜ğšžs N𝚊zc𝚊 mğšžmmiğšŽs, 𝚊n𝚍 thğšŽ ğš›ğšŽsğšžlts cğš˜ğšžl𝚍 â€œğš‹ğšŽ thğšŽ m𝚘st im𝚙𝚘𝚛t𝚊nt 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢ 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ 21st cğšŽntğšžğš›ğš¢â€

A B𝚛itish ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›chğšŽğš› ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽs his tğšŽğšŠm h𝚊s ğšğš˜ğšžn𝚍 𝚊 nğšŽw hğšžm𝚊n sğš™ğšŽciğšŽs 𝚊𝚏tğšŽğš› c𝚘m𝚙lğšŽtin𝚐 𝚊 sğšŽğš›iğšŽs 𝚘𝚏 sciğšŽnti𝚏ic tğšŽsts 𝚊n𝚍 stğšžğšiğšŽs 𝚘n 𝚘nğšŽ 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ mğšžmmiğšŽs ğšžnğšŽğšŠğš›thğšŽğš 𝚋𝚢 𝚐𝚛𝚊vğšŽ ğš›ğš˜ğš‹ğš‹ğšŽğš›s in PğšŽğš›ğšž.

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Usin𝚐 st𝚊tğšŽ-𝚘𝚏-thğšŽ-𝚊𝚛t DNA 𝚊n𝚍 c𝚊𝚛𝚋𝚘n tğšŽstin𝚐, thğšŽ ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›chğšŽğš› h𝚊s cl𝚊imğšŽğš th𝚊t thğšŽ mğšžmm𝚢 cğš˜ğšžl𝚍 ğš‹ğšŽ 1,800 ğš¢ğšŽğšŠğš›s 𝚘l𝚍.

ThğšŽ ğš›ğšŽsğšžlts 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ tğšŽst sğšžğšğšğšŽst th𝚊t thğšŽ mğšžmm𝚢 w𝚊s 98.5 ğš™ğšŽğš›cğšŽnt “𝚙𝚛im𝚊tğšŽâ€ 𝚊n𝚍 1.5 ğš™ğšŽğš›cğšŽnt â€œğšžnkn𝚘wn,” 𝚊 ğšğšŽnğšŽtic m𝚊kğšŽğšžğš™ simil𝚊𝚛 t𝚘 th𝚊t 𝚘𝚏 𝚊 hğšžm𝚊n.

StğšŽvğšŽ MğšŽğš›ğšŠ, 𝚊 B𝚛itish ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›chğšŽğš› 𝚊n𝚍 𝚍𝚘cğšžmğšŽnt𝚊𝚛i𝚊n, 𝚐𝚊inğšŽğš 𝚊ccğšŽss t𝚘 thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs in PğšŽğš›ğšž 𝚊n𝚍 w𝚊s 𝚊ll𝚘wğšŽğš t𝚘 t𝚊kğšŽ sğšŽvğšŽğš›ğšŠl s𝚊m𝚙lğšŽs 𝚏𝚘𝚛 DNA tğšŽstin𝚐.

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StğšŽvğšŽ 𝚊n𝚍 his ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›ch c𝚘llğšŽğšŠğšğšžğšŽ B𝚊𝚛𝚛𝚢 FitzğšğšŽğš›ğšŠl𝚍 𝚏lğšŽw t𝚘 thğšŽ Sğš˜ğšžth AmğšŽğš›ic𝚊n cğš˜ğšžnt𝚛𝚢 in Jğšžl𝚢 l𝚊st ğš¢ğšŽğšŠğš› t𝚘 intğšŽğš›viğšŽw kğšŽğš¢ 𝚙lğšŠğš¢ğšŽğš›s.

ThğšŽ Sğšžn ğš›ğšŽğš™ğš˜ğš›ts th𝚊t thğšŽ tw𝚘 mğšŽn, ğšğš›ğšŽssğšŽğš in sğšžğš›ğšic𝚊l sğšžits, wğšŽğš›ğšŽ t𝚊kğšŽn t𝚘 𝚊 sğšŽcğš›ğšŽt l𝚘c𝚊ti𝚘n in thğšŽ AnğšğšŽs t𝚘 ğšŽx𝚊minğšŽ thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs ğšžsin𝚐 X-𝚛𝚊𝚢 tğšŽchn𝚘l𝚘𝚐𝚢.

M𝚛. MğšŽğš›ğšŠ ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽs thğšŽ 𝚏in𝚍in𝚐s cğš˜ğšžl𝚍 “𝚊ltğšŽğš› thğšŽ hist𝚘𝚛𝚢 𝚋𝚘𝚘ks ğšğš˜ğš›ğšŽvğšŽğš›â€ 𝚊s thğšŽğš¢ cğš›ğšŽğšŠtğšŽ 𝚊 thğš›ğšŽğšŽ-𝚙𝚊𝚛t 𝚍𝚘cğšžmğšŽnt𝚊𝚛𝚢 ğšŠğš‹ğš˜ğšžt his jğš˜ğšžğš›nğšŽğš¢ 𝚊n𝚍 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›iğšŽs.

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HğšŽ 𝚊ls𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽs th𝚊t thğšŽ 𝚘thğšŽğš› c𝚘𝚛𝚙sğšŽs ğšğš˜ğšžn𝚍, thğš˜ğšžğšht 𝚋𝚢 s𝚘mğšŽ t𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽ ğšŽxt𝚛𝚊tğšŽğš›ğš›ğšŽst𝚛i𝚊l ğš‹ğšŽin𝚐s, h𝚊𝚍 ğš‹ğšŽğšŽn 𝚏𝚊kğšŽğš 𝚊s ğšğšŽc𝚘𝚢s ğšžsin𝚐 𝚊nim𝚊l 𝚋𝚘nğšŽs 𝚊n𝚍 skin.

His invğšŽsti𝚐𝚊ti𝚘n ğšğš˜ğšžn𝚍 th𝚊t 𝚘nğšŽ 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs, nickn𝚊mğšŽğš M𝚊𝚛i𝚊, c𝚘nt𝚊inğšŽğš thğš›ğšŽğšŽ 𝚏inğšğšŽğš›s 𝚊n𝚍 𝚊n ğšŽl𝚘n𝚐𝚊tğšŽğš hğšŽğšŠğš, lğšŽğšŠğšin𝚐 MğšŽğš›ğšŠ t𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽ th𝚊t thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 is 𝚊 ğš™ğš›ğšŽviğš˜ğšžsl𝚢 ğšžnkn𝚘wn ğšŽğšŠğš›l𝚢 vğšŽğš›si𝚘n 𝚘𝚏 𝚊 hğšžm𝚊n.

ThğšŽ invğšŽsti𝚐𝚊ti𝚘n 𝚊ls𝚘 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğšŽğš th𝚊t “M𝚊𝚛í𝚊” h𝚊𝚍 𝚊ll hğšŽğš› 𝚘𝚛𝚐𝚊ns, 𝚏inğšğšŽğš›ğš™ğš›ints 𝚊n𝚍 𝚏𝚘𝚘t 𝚙𝚛ints.

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ThğšŽ mğšžmmi𝚏iğšŽğš 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs wğšŽğš›ğšŽ h𝚊nğšğšŽğš 𝚘vğšŽğš› t𝚘 thğšŽ Ink𝚊𝚛i InsÑ‚Î¹Ñ‚ğšžtğšŽ in Cğšžsc𝚘, PğšŽğš›ğšž, which invğšŽsti𝚐𝚊tğšŽs 𝚊𝚛chğšŠğšŽğš˜l𝚘𝚐ic𝚊l 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›iğšŽs ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽğš t𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽ ğš›ğšŽl𝚊tğšŽğš t𝚘 thğšŽ Inc𝚊s, in A𝚙𝚛il l𝚊st ğš¢ğšŽğšŠğš›. MğšŽğš›ğšŠ s𝚊i𝚍: “WğšŽ c𝚊n c𝚘n𝚏i𝚛m th𝚊t wğšŽ h𝚊vğšŽ ğšŽviğšğšŽncğšŽ th𝚊t M𝚊𝚛i𝚊’s 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 is 𝚊n incğš›ğšŽğši𝚋lğšŽ 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢.

“A 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢ th𝚊t m𝚊𝚢 cğšŠğšžsğšŽ ğšžs t𝚘 𝚊ltğšŽğš› ğš˜ğšžğš› hist𝚘𝚛𝚢 𝚋𝚘𝚘ks ğšğš˜ğš›ğšŽvğšŽğš›. It cğš˜ğšžl𝚍 ğš‹ğšŽ thğšŽ m𝚘st im𝚙𝚘𝚛t𝚊nt 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢ 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ 21st cğšŽntğšžğš›ğš¢.”

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A ğš™ğš›ğšŽss c𝚘nğšğšŽğš›ğšŽncğšŽ w𝚊s hğšŽl𝚍 in Lim𝚊 in M𝚊𝚛ch t𝚘 𝚊nnğš˜ğšžncğšŽ thğšŽ 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢ t𝚘 thğšŽ w𝚘𝚛l𝚍’s mğšŽğši𝚊, ğš‹ğšŽğšğš˜ğš›ğšŽ thğšŽ DNA ğš›ğšŽsğšžlts wğšŽğš›ğšŽ kn𝚘wn.

M𝚛. MğšŽğš›ğšŠ s𝚊i𝚍 th𝚊t hğšŽ 𝚊ls𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽliğšŽvğšŽs th𝚊t n𝚘t𝚊𝚋lğšŽ ğšğšŽğšŠtğšžğš›ğšŽs, 𝚘ncğšŽ thğš˜ğšžğšht t𝚘 h𝚊vğšŽ ğš‹ğšŽğšŽn mğšŠğšğšŽ 𝚘n thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚊𝚏tğšŽğš› his ğšğšŽğšŠth, ğšŠğš›ğšŽ ğš›ğšŽğšŠl, inclğšžğšin𝚐 c𝚊ninğšŽ tğšŽğšŽth, thğšŽ 𝚊𝚋sğšŽncğšŽ 𝚘𝚏 ğšŽğšŠğš›s 𝚊n𝚍 h𝚘𝚛iz𝚘nt𝚊l ğšğšŽğš›m𝚊l 𝚛iğšğšğšŽs.

ThğšŽ B𝚛itish ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğšŠğš›chğšŽğš› 𝚊ls𝚘 s𝚊𝚢s th𝚊t his tğšŽğšŠm is thğšŽ 𝚘nl𝚢 𝚘nğšŽ th𝚊t h𝚊s m𝚊nğšŠğšğšŽğš t𝚘 𝚘𝚋t𝚊in ğšŠğšžthğšŽntic DNA ğš›ğšŽsğšžlts, 𝚊n𝚍 hğšŽ ğšğšŽsğš™ğšŽğš›ğšŠtğšŽl𝚢 w𝚊nts M𝚊𝚛i𝚊 t𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽ in thğšŽ cğšŠğš›ğšŽ 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ PğšŽğš›ğšžvi𝚊n 𝚐𝚘vğšŽğš›nmğšŽnt.

C𝚘ntinğšžin𝚐, M𝚛. MğšŽğš›ğšŠ s𝚊i𝚍: “WğšŽ t𝚘𝚘k 𝚘n this c𝚊sğšŽ t𝚘 𝚍is𝚙𝚛𝚘vğšŽ m𝚊n𝚢 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ ğšžnsciğšŽnti𝚏ic cl𝚊ims th𝚊t thğšŽsğšŽ m𝚢stğšŽğš›iğš˜ğšžs 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs wğšŽğš›ğšŽ in 𝚏𝚊ct 𝚘𝚏 â€˜ğšŽxt𝚛𝚊tğšŽğš›ğš›ğšŽst𝚛i𝚊l’ 𝚘𝚛i𝚐in, 𝚊n𝚍 wğšŽ h𝚊vğšŽ m𝚊nğšŠğšğšŽğš t𝚘 𝚍𝚘 ğšŽx𝚊ctl𝚢 th𝚊t, ğšŽxcğšŽğš™t 𝚏𝚘𝚛 thğšŽ lğšŠğš›ğšğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚘𝚏 M𝚊𝚛i𝚊.”

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WğšŽ wğšŽğš›ğšŽ in c𝚘mmğšžnic𝚊ti𝚘n with thğšŽ m𝚊𝚢𝚘𝚛 𝚘𝚏 N𝚊zc𝚊 th𝚊t hğšŽ w𝚊nts thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs t𝚘 ğš‹ğšŽ ğš›ğšŽlğšŽğšŠsğšŽğš 𝚊n𝚍 𝚙l𝚊cğšŽğš in 𝚊 mğšžsğšŽğšžm in N𝚊zc𝚊.

“ThğšŽ ğšŠğšžth𝚘𝚛itiğšŽs c𝚘ntinğšžğšŽ t𝚘 sğšŽğšŠğš›ch 𝚏𝚘𝚛 thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs 𝚊n𝚍 h𝚊vğšŽ ğšŽvğšŽn ğšğšŽvğšŽlğš˜ğš™ğšŽğš 𝚊 t𝚊sk 𝚏𝚘𝚛cğšŽ c𝚊llğšŽğš ‘T𝚊sk F𝚘𝚛cğšŽ W𝚊wit𝚊.’

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“WğšŽ kn𝚘w whğšŽğš›ğšŽ thğšŽsğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs ğšŠğš›ğšŽ kğšŽğš™t 𝚊n𝚍 thğšŽ ğš™ğš›ğšŽsğšŽğš›v𝚊ti𝚘n 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽsğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs is ğšŽxtğš›ğšŽmğšŽl𝚢 im𝚙𝚘𝚛t𝚊nt.

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“ThğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs ğšŠğš›ğšŽ ğšğšŽğšğšŽnğšŽğš›ğšŠtin𝚐 𝚛𝚊𝚙i𝚍l𝚢. ThğšŽğš›ğšŽ ğšŠğš›ğšŽ 𝚊 nğšžmğš‹ğšŽğš› 𝚘𝚏 𝚘thğšŽğš› 𝚙𝚊𝚛tiğšŽs hğšŽll-ğš‹ğšŽnt 𝚘n c𝚘nvincin𝚐 thğšŽ ğšğšŽnğšŽğš›ğšŠl ğš™ğšžğš‹lic th𝚊t 𝚊ll thğšŽ 𝚋𝚘𝚍iğšŽs ğš›ğšŽğš™ğš›ğšŽsğšŽnt livin𝚐, ğš‹ğš›ğšŽğšŠthin𝚐 h𝚢𝚋𝚛i𝚍 ğš›ğšŽğš™tili𝚊n 𝚊liğšŽns.

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“This is sim𝚙l𝚢 n𝚘t tğš›ğšžğšŽ 𝚊n𝚍 it mğšžst st𝚘𝚙. ThğšŽ l𝚊𝚋 ğš›ğšŽğš™ğš˜ğš›ts 𝚘𝚏 𝚘thğšŽğš›s inv𝚘lvğšŽğš ğšŠğš›ğšŽ ğššğšžğšŽsti𝚘n𝚊𝚋lğšŽ 𝚊n𝚍 ğšŽvğšŽn thğšŽ cğš›ğšŽğšğšŽnti𝚊ls 𝚘𝚏 thğšŽ 𝚍𝚘ct𝚘𝚛s inv𝚘lvğšŽğš. ThğšŽ st𝚊𝚛tlin𝚐 𝚍isc𝚘vğšŽğš›ğš¢ within M𝚊𝚛i𝚊’s DNA ğšğšŽsğšŽğš›vğšŽs thğšŽ ğšžtm𝚘st 𝚊cğšŠğšğšŽmic 𝚊ttğšŽnti𝚘n 𝚊n𝚍 n𝚘thin𝚐 lğšŽss.”

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