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Old 14th September 2020, 01:55 AM   #1
wobs
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Life on Venus?

There might be life on Venus! They have found a bio signiture in the form of Phosphine, so as I interpret it, its not 100% certain that they have found life yet, but exciting news away...

http://astrobiology.com/2020/09/phos...ible-life.html

Correct me if I'm wrong in that interpretation. Even one of my very sciency friends on FB says "There's life of Venus!".
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Old 14th September 2020, 02:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
There might be life on Venus! They have found a bio signiture in the form of Phosphine, so as I interpret it, its not 100% certain that they have found life yet, but exciting news away...

http://astrobiology.com/2020/09/phos...ible-life.html

Correct me if I'm wrong in that interpretation. Even one of my very sciency friends on FB says "There's life of Venus!".
Venus is a girly planet, so I bet phosphine is a skin care product.
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Old 14th September 2020, 03:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
There might be life on Venus! They have found a bio signiture in the form of Phosphine, so as I interpret it, its not 100% certain that they have found life yet, but exciting news away...

http://astrobiology.com/2020/09/phos...ible-life.html

Correct me if I'm wrong in that interpretation. Even one of my very sciency friends on FB says "There's life of Venus!".
It is interesting. We know that extremophiles exist. Because we keep finding them in unexpected places. So I am open to the idea. Life itself is in many ways unexpected when it turns up or even survives in an unexpected environment.

But...

Phosphines (note plural) can naturally form chemically with no life involved at all.

For me, I quite like the idea that unexpected life may exists on Venus. It is really unlikely, but how cool would that be?

But I am not about to declare life exists on Venus until the hard science is in. And it isn't. Yet.

Thus I am content to sit on the fence. It could well be some form of life, sure. But I am not buying that until it is demonstrated.

And your "sciency" friends have failed to do that very thing. That is not very "sciency" on their part. Accepting a claim at face value is in the realm of religion, not science.
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Old 14th September 2020, 04:10 AM   #4
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I have been told that in the atmosphere of Venus the temperature is reasonable, so maybe life could exist there. But what type?
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Old 14th September 2020, 04:37 AM   #5
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The Royal Astronomical Society is streaming their press briefing at 4pm BST today:

https://twitter.com/RoyalAstroSoc/st...61621985349633

As I understand it, Phosphine breaks down very quickly so something is making it. That something could be microbial life in the Venusian atmosphere. Exciting stuff!
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Old 14th September 2020, 08:55 AM   #6
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It'd be cool, but it I guess its also still possible there is some chemical reaction producing it, the atmosphere of Venus does contain a lot of chemicals, heat and a lot of lightning.
I presume they've ruled those out, but still.

That being said, if it were true it would open up possible biomes in the gas giants as well. And the sci-fi nerd in me is rejoicing with hope it's true
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Old 14th September 2020, 10:01 AM   #7
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Fascinating, fascinating.

Saw this program on TV just now. Details fuzzy, I was multitasking away while watching, but the person being interviewed -- some stripe of bona fide scientist, although I didn't catch what kind! -- seemed pretty excited. Said that phosphenes in Saturn, say, is only to be expected, but in Venus apparently the only mechanism that we know of so far (given what we know about Venus) for phosphenes to be found in the quantities indicated, would be, yep, life!

Cool, very cool! And especially cool since this is Venus!
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Old 14th September 2020, 10:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I have been told that in the atmosphere of Venus the temperature is reasonable, so maybe life could exist there. But what type?

Comic Sans.
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Old 14th September 2020, 10:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I have been told that in the atmosphere of Venus the temperature is reasonable, so maybe life could exist there. But what type?

More seriously, in addition to the temperatures, it going to have to cope with the sulphuric acid.

It’s not impossible that there are self-sustaining chemical reactions going on there, but if it’s life, it’s going to be in the “it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it” territory.
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Old 14th September 2020, 11:19 AM   #10
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The one thing I do like about this is the way the scientists published their data, explained that they do not understand what is happing and sent out the call to prove that there is another explanation.

The way science is supposed to work. Something all our resident pseudo scientists could learn from (but won't)
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Old 14th September 2020, 11:45 AM   #11
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The BBC article explains that they scientists looked at all the inorganic processes they could come up with and none of them would generate the levels detected in the atmosphere of Venus. So at the very least they may have found some exotic chemistry going on.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54133538
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Old 14th September 2020, 02:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
It is interesting. We know that extremophiles exist. Because we keep finding them in unexpected places. So I am open to the idea. Life itself is in many ways unexpected when it turns up or even survives in an unexpected environment.

But...

Phosphines (note plural) can naturally form chemically with no life involved at all.

For me, I quite like the idea that unexpected life may exists on Venus. It is really unlikely, but how cool would that be?

But I am not about to declare life exists on Venus until the hard science is in. And it isn't. Yet.

Thus I am content to sit on the fence. It could well be some form of life, sure. But I am not buying that until it is demonstrated.

And your "sciency" friends have failed to do that very thing. That is not very "sciency" on their part. Accepting a claim at face value is in the realm of religion, not science.
I agree.
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Old 14th September 2020, 02:44 PM   #13
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A great video by Scott Manley on the topic.


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 14th September 2020, 07:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
For me, I quite like the idea that unexpected life may exists on Venus. It is really unlikely, but how cool would that be?
On Venus? With a surface temperature of 462°C, not cool at all.
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Old 15th September 2020, 12:30 PM   #15
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Old 15th September 2020, 12:53 PM   #16
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What the scientists said:

1. We found something unexpected and curious.

2. We have looked at a number of possible explanations but none of them seem to explain what we have observed.

3. One possible explanation of what we have observed is that the something is a result of a living process.

4. This appears to be very controversial and very possibly wrong.

5. We'll keep looking for other explanations.

6. Stand by.


What the press says:

Aliens invading from Venus.
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Old 15th September 2020, 12:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
What the scientists said:

1. We found something unexpected and curious.

2. We have looked at a number of possible explanations but none of them seem to explain what we have observed.

3. One possible explanation of what we have observed is that the something is a result of a living process.

4. This appears to be very controversial and very possibly wrong.

5. We'll keep looking for other explanations.

6. Stand by.


What the press says:

Aliens invading from Venus.
Now imagine the press doing the exact same thing routinely, about every event they can.
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Old 15th September 2020, 01:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
What the scientists said:

1. We found something unexpected and curious.

2. We have looked at a number of possible explanations but none of them seem to explain what we have observed.

3. One possible explanation of what we have observed is that the something is a result of a living process.

4. This appears to be very controversial and very possibly wrong.

5. We'll keep looking for other explanations.

6. Stand by.


What the press says:

Aliens invading from Venus.
I prefer the press version .

No doubt the surface of Venus is likely to be too hot to support life. But there must be a “Goldilocks zone” in the atmosphere where temperatures are tolerable. Complex and/or organic chemicals seem to be lacking though.

I would like this to be true, but we will wait and see.
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Old 15th September 2020, 01:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
What the scientists said:

1. We found something unexpected and curious.

2. We have looked at a number of possible explanations but none of them seem to explain what we have observed.

3. One possible explanation of what we have observed is that the something is a result of a living process.

4. This appears to be very controversial and very possibly wrong.

5. We'll keep looking for other explanations.

6. Stand by.


What the press says:

Aliens invading from Venus.
I prefer the press version .

No doubt the surface of Venus is likely to be too hot to support life. But there must be a “Goldilocks zone” in the atmosphere where temperatures are tolerable. Complex and/or organic chemicals seem to be lacking though.

I would like this (life, not invasion ) to be true, but we will wait and see.
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Old 15th September 2020, 07:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I prefer the press version .

No doubt the surface of Venus is likely to be too hot to support life. But there must be a “Goldilocks zone” in the atmosphere where temperatures are tolerable.
Complex and/or organic chemicals seem to be lacking though.
According to what I read, the detection was at altitude - pretty much in this zone (which yes, does exist, according to multiple sources I've read).

Quote:
I would like this (life, not invasion ) to be true, but we will wait and see.
Apparently the biggest two caveats are that they only detected one type of signature for phosphine, and the data needs to be heavily processed to find it. This substantially increases the probability that it's a false signal. They were planning to look for a different signature, but COVID-19 interfered with that.

I don't have the article to hand, but I can search for it if there is demand.
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Old 15th September 2020, 10:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Now imagine the press doing the exact same thing routinely, about every event they can.
Gell-Mann amnesia.
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Old 15th September 2020, 10:36 PM   #22
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I haven't seen any artist's impressions of the Venusians, the media aren't doing their jobs.
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Old 15th September 2020, 11:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I haven't seen any artist's impressions of the Venusians, the media aren't doing their jobs.
They've been available for over 50 years
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Old 16th September 2020, 02:10 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by grmcdorman View Post
According to what I read, the detection was at altitude - pretty much in this zone (which yes, does exist, according to multiple sources I've read).



Apparently the biggest two caveats are that they only detected one type of signature for phosphine, and the data needs to be heavily processed to find it. This substantially increases the probability that it's a false signal. They were planning to look for a different signature, but COVID-19 interfered with that.

I don't have the article to hand, but I can search for it if there is demand.
The polar regions don't have the phosphine signature which controls for a false signal. This was observed in 2019 initially and has taken some time to get another telescope to agree to repeat the analysis which they have done. Very compelling.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod...-life-on-venus
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Old 16th September 2020, 02:52 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ohms View Post
The Royal Astronomical Society is streaming their press briefing at 4pm BST today:

https://twitter.com/RoyalAstroSoc/st...61621985349633

As I understand it, Phosphine breaks down very quickly so something is making it. That something could be microbial life in the Venusian atmosphere. Exciting stuff!
In the presence of oxygen it breaks down, but the atmosphere of Venus lacks O2. I'm skeptical.
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Old 16th September 2020, 03:17 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
What the scientists said:

1. We found something unexpected and curious.

2. We have looked at a number of possible explanations but none of them seem to explain what we have observed.

3. One possible explanation of what we have observed is that the something is a result of a living process.

4. This appears to be very controversial and very possibly wrong.

5. We'll keep looking for other explanations.

6. Stand by.


What the press says:

Aliens invading from Venus.
All the press coverage I’ve seen has pretty exactly followed your first six steps.
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Old 16th September 2020, 04:30 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
In the presence of oxygen it breaks down, but the atmosphere of Venus lacks O2. I'm skeptical.
They analyse the methods of PH3 breakdown and its lifetime in the atmosphere in their paper:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4

Quote:
Photochemical model

Within the atmosphere of Venus, PH3 is destroyed by photochemically generated radical species, by near-surface thermal decomposition and by photodissociation within/above the clouds. Since PH3 itself scavenges chemically reactive radicals and atoms, for example, OH, H, O and Cl, the presence of PH3 suppresses these species, increasing its lifetime. Previously published models of Venus’s atmosphere did not include the scavenging effect of PH3, so we developed our own model.
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Old 16th September 2020, 06:34 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ohms View Post
They analyse the methods of PH3 breakdown and its lifetime in the atmosphere in their paper:

Photochemical model

Within the atmosphere of Venus, PH3 is destroyed by photochemically generated radical species, by near-surface thermal decomposition and by photodissociation within/above the clouds. Since PH3 itself scavenges chemically reactive radicals and atoms, for example, OH, H, O and Cl, the presence of PH3 suppresses these species, increasing its lifetime. Previously published models of Venus’s atmosphere did not include the scavenging effect of PH3, so we developed our own model.


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4

So, totally NOT Aliens just some radical species.
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Old 16th September 2020, 07:17 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
To be completely accurate that is only one Venusian. The rest all looked different and more like us. Though the Treens were green. And the Therons brown.

Personally I prefer Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus.
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Old 16th September 2020, 07:22 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
All the press coverage I’ve seen has pretty exactly followed your first six steps.
Sorry for my hyperbole.
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Old 16th September 2020, 07:30 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Now imagine the press doing the exact same thing routinely, about every event they can.
I suppose I could imagine that but, in truth, even the Daily Mail gets it almost right.

Quote:
Is there alien life on Venus? Scientists detect traces of phosphine gas that could be coming from MICROBES in clouds swirling high in the planet's atmosphere
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...ts-clouds.html

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Old 16th September 2020, 08:15 AM   #32
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If I can indulge in a little thread necromancy here, I asked this question about 16 years ago and the thread didn't go very far. It seems quite relevant to this thread. Any thoughts?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=26379

Quote:
Now, if we take "life as we know it Jim" to be not only carbon-based, but based on the same biochemistry of nucleic acids and proteins and lipids and so on, what is the likelihood of a system evolving independently being similar to the one we're familiar with? I mean the same molecules doing the same jobs at the cellular level. Is this a question which can be answered in any sensible way? I'm particularly interested in the likelihood of the genetic code being the same. Does anyone know if the coding of each individual triplet for a particular amino acid is logical, based on anything about the shapes of the molecules, or is it just an arbitrary relationship?
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Old 16th September 2020, 08:37 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If I can indulge in a little thread necromancy here, I asked this question about 16 years ago and the thread didn't go very far. It seems quite relevant to this thread. Any thoughts?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=26379
It seems plausible to me, (not with respect to Venus in particular) because we know that the molecules of DNA and RNA work. If there are other possible self-replicating molecules capable of evolving some kind of lifeform, they are as yet unknown, so I wouldn't be surprised if extraterrestrial life also uses DNA/RNA. Because it works.
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:47 AM   #34
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That wasn't entirely what I meant though. I was speculating as to whether there's any reason to imagine that life that arose independently from terrestrial life would use the same genetic code.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:03 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
To be completely accurate that is only one Venusian. The rest all looked different and more like us. Though the Treens were green. And the Therons brown.

Personally I prefer Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus.
I'll get the axle grease ready.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:34 AM   #36
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Kind of a put-off, though, isn't it? The first sign we get of the (hopefully) charming ETs of Venus is by effectively smelling their farts? An affair that starts like this doesn't seem very promising.
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Old 16th September 2020, 10:50 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
I'll get the axle grease ready.
You better have lots. I have a dozen more squeaky wheels in my basement.

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Old 16th September 2020, 10:53 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Kind of a put-off, though, isn't it? The first sign we get of the (hopefully) charming ETs of Venus is by effectively smelling their farts? An affair that starts like this doesn't seem very promising.
Just don't pull the Mekon's finger?
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:29 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If I can indulge in a little thread necromancy here, I asked this question about 16 years ago and the thread didn't go very far. It seems quite relevant to this thread. Any thoughts?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=26379

It is impossible to say as long as we have no examples of ET life. I think that the closest we can come to basing speculations about this in the real world are examples like this one:

Quote:
The most important of master control genes implicated in making eyes is called Pax6. The ancestral Pax6 gene probably orchestrated the formation of a very simple eye – merely a collection of light-sensing cells working together to inform a primitive organism of when it was out in the open versus in the dark, or in the shade.
Today the legacy of that early Pax6 gene lives on in an incredible diversity of organisms, from birds and bees, to shellfish and whales, from squid to you and me. This means the Pax6 gene predates the evolutionary diversification of these lineages – during the Cambrian period, some 500m years ago.
Humans and squid evolved same eyes using same genes (Conversation, May 6, 2014)

But as different from each other shellfish and people may be, they still had that one gene in common from the beginning, of course.
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Old 16th September 2020, 11:40 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
It is impossible to say as long as we have no examples of ET life. I think that the closest we can come to basing speculations about this in the real world are examples like this one:




But as different from each other shellfish and people may be, they still had that one gene in common from the beginning, of course.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
It is impossible to say as long as we have no examples of ET life. I think that the closest we can come to basing speculations about this in the real world are examples like this one:




But as different from each other shellfish and people may be, they still had that one gene in common from the beginning, of course.

The protein kinases are common to all living organisms. Although viruses share no genes across the families?


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