The Ingredients for Life

I have heard this before so this is not entirely a new topic of discussion for me but I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it with everyone. At first when I heard it I was very skeptical, but now that I have found multiple sources all saying the same thing, I am more inclined to believe it.

http://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-creates-ingredients-of-life-in-harsh-simulated-space-conditions/

Apparently the stuff that we are made of at a chemical level is not that special after all. In fact most of it can be and is found in the vacuum of space, not only that but it can survive there. This is important for a variety of reasons: one is that the idea life was brought here (Panspermia) by asteroids and comets is very plausible when you consider the above article, and when you think about seems more and more likely. The other important thing is that, taking this with a grain of salt because again we only have one example to work with, the ingredients for life seem very versatile and given the right conditions and enough time, life should be bountiful. Along those lines given the near infinite stars and planets you would think that these ingredients would have already seeded many, thousands, if not millions of planets with life of all forms. Sadly, this does not appear to be true. Once again enter the Fermi Paradox, that damn paradox is everywhere.

I still find it very fascinating that the chemical basics we are made of can and does survive the vacuum of space, that is no small feat. It is also interesting that these ingredients called Pyrimidine, naturally occur in space by themselves, at least that is how I read the article. If that is the case, that again makes the possibility of life even more advantageous, or at least life as we know it.

I go back and forth with the rarity of life in the universe. But when you read something like this it really makes you think that life should be everywhere, but we obviously do not see that. Perhaps, despite, all the ingredients being available it is a near astronomical improbability that these ingredients come together in the right place and have a suitable environment to grow. I liken it to having flour, eggs, milk, oil, sugar, and an empty bowl all in the same kitchen just sitting there. All the ingredients for a cake are available and in the same environment, but no matter how much time, in fact even given an infinite amount of time, will not yield a cake. The cake will need something or someone to mix all the ingredients potentially in the right proportion, and it will need to be baked, but not too long, you don’t want to burn it. I hope I am making sense, and you can see an example of how difficult it could be for life to take hold. If the Pyrimidine landed on a rocky planet maybe the planet was too hot or had a radical orbit that was not conducive to life. There truly are an infinite number of reasons life would not arise on a planet, still though you would think playing the numbers game luck would be on the side of life.

This next article is something that I had also heard before and once again did some research and found it also to be true.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/magazine/is-most-of-our-dna-garbage.html?&_r=0

Again in had heard that there was a large portion of our DNA that was more or less worthless, but after reading this article I realized that that large portion is around 98%. Let’s let that sink in for a second, the most important thing that makes up who you, only about 2% of it is actually relevant. Small disclaimer, that 98% is mostly noncoding (I am not sure what that is), but most scientist think and agree that near most of it is useless. HOWEVER, that sentiment seems to be shifting as more and more research is being done. There seems to be growing evidence that that other DNA does do stuff we just are not 100% sure what it is yet.

Your next thought, I am sure, is that well the more complex the thing, plant or animal, the more base pairs the thing has. Well you would be wrong again, surprisingly an onion has more base pairs than a human. I did not know that and is pretty weird.

DNA seems to be some pretty weird stuff. To me you would think that the more complex the thing the more base pairs, not only that but it seems that all those base pairs would be relevant and it would be easy to pinpoint exactly what it is they do. Obviously I am out of my element here, but it is amazing that with all that seemingly worthless junk in your DNA that it is able to do anything much less create and maintain one of the most complex creatures on the planet. It seems that all that extra stuff would get in the way, and perhaps it does. It could help explain the multitude of genetic and other disorders that we have. as a species You have to wonder that if it were possible to clean up our DNA what would happen then?

There could be two plausible outcomes. One being that all that junk DNA does actually do stuff and that altering it in any way would only lead to the death of the individual or a severely genetically deformed individual. One the other hand if this stuff is indeed useless then I think it is long overdue for some cleaning. I would imagine there is so much stuff leftover from millions and millions of years of evolution, that if cleaned could potentially lead to the next stage of human evolution. This is a very interesting though and somewhere leads into my next topic of discussion, the Doomsday Argument!!!

Manik

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