A scientist from Kerala has claimed to have discovered biological cell-like structure of extraterrestrial origin that exist without either of the two nucleic acids. Its implications are clear — these exotic specimens may point to life beyond earth.
It all started in 2001, when Dr Godfrey Louis witnessed an unusual phenomenon called red rain. The rain water that year had a distinct red colour which confounded Louis. On closer inspection, he found that the water contained strange organic structures that had never been seen on earth. "All explanations regarding its terrestrial origins could not account for these strange organisms," Louis remarked while speaking to DNA.
"Despite lacking both DNA and RNA, they show fine structured membrane just like normal cells," he said. "These organisms have a peculiar biochemical structure whose significance cannot be ignored," he added. "The presence of carbon, a key component of life was very significant." Dr Louis contends life can exist without DNA. "It is possible that extraterrestrial life could exist without DNA. We may be encountering space biology… life beyond earth."
He feels comets could be the source of these specimens. "Comets have been known to be the carriers of biological matter. It may be that a comet had disintegrated, as a result of which its particles may have found their way to earth."
Louis' findings have been published in the Astrophysics and Space Science, and was also featured on the cover of New Scientist.