A new discovery from scientists has advanced the cause of those searching for extraterrestrial life.
On Earth, all life is made up of DNA and RNA, molecules which can store and transmit genetic information.
But now biologists have confirmed that at least six other types of molecule can also support life, dramatically increasing the likelihood of life on other planets.
A team from the University of Cambridge managed to manufacture synthetic XNAs (xeno-nucleic acids) which mimic some of the properties of DNA and RNA.
It is crucial for organisms to be able to grow and reproduce in order for life to be sustainable, so they must have a way to transfer genetic material from one molecule to another.
Although DNA and RNA are the only naturally occurring structures on Earth to have this ability, the new research proves that they are not the only possible paths to life.
‘This unique ability of DNA and RNA to encode information can be implemented in other backbones,’ Philipp Holliger, who led the research, told the Daily Galaxy.
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