Friday, March 25, 2011

Are we all descendants of Martians? Device to tell

Boston: A team of researchers at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a device that will study whether life on Earth descended from organisms that were originated on Mars and carried to our planet aboard meteorites – a theory that would make all humans of Martiandescent .

A team from MIT and Harvard University are working on the proposed instrument called the 'Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes' (SETG). The device, which could be carried on future missions to Mars, would take samples of Martian soil and isolate any living microbes that might be present or microbial remnants , which can be preserved for about up to a million years and still contain viable DNA.

They would separate out the genetic material in order to use biochemical techniques to analyse their genetic sequences. The team would search for DNA or RNA in the Martian soil, separating any possible organisms using the techniques used for forensic DNA testing on Earth.

Biochemical markers would be used to search for signs of particular , genetic sequences that are nearly universal among all known life forms. "If we go to Mars and find life that is related to us, we could have originated on Mars. Or if it started here, it could have been transferred to Mars," MIT researcher Christopher Carr said.


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