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Shadow Life: A Different Bio-chemistry

astro-biology: alternate life forms


Perhaps the most fascinating possibility is if aliens used bioengineering to leave behind unintentional or intentional traces or messages in the DNA of life on Earth. The self-perpetuating nature of life forms could help ensure survival of any such biologically embedded messages.

Alien bioengineering might have also created a "shadow biosphere" of life built upon biochemistry separate from that of Earth life forms. Examples would be life forms that don’t use DNA or proteins, or incorporate different elements in their biochemistry than all other known life forms on Earth do. Scientists have already begun major efforts to find shadow biospheres, but of natural rather than artificial origins.

If scientists find "weird" shadow organisms that arose separately from the Earth life forms we know, that won't necessarily suggest intelligent alien involvement. But such a find could give more credibility to the idea that life has a good chance of arising when given the right circumstances, rather than simply being a one-time freak accident. And that might make everyone feel a little less alone.

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