Life on Mars? Scientists hope to find it by decoding Martian DNA - ’We Can Rebuild Them’
2012-10-22 0:00

By Karen Kaplan | Phys.org





Apparently, there just aren’t enough genomes for Craig Venter to sequence here on Earth, so he’s making plans to send a DNA sequencer to Mars.


"There will be life forms there," Venter said, with his usual confidence, at a Wired Health conference this week in New York.


If he can build a machine to find it, the next steps would be to decode its DNA, beam it back to Earth, put those into a cell and then boot up a form in a biosecure lab.


It may sound far-fetched, but assuming that there is DNA to be found on the Red Planet - a big assumption, to be sure - the notion of equipping a future Mars rover to sequence the DNA isn’t so crazy.


Venter has already sent his yacht around the globe to scoop up seawater and sequence whatever DNA it found in . He has also been working on technology to create small genomes from scratch and insert them into living cells to bring these organisms to life. The difference now is that all of this technology would be applied to Mars.


It’s highly unlikely that any DNA-based life forms could survive on the , so Venter’s "biological teleporter" (as he dubbed it) would dig under the surface for samples to sequence. If they find anything, "it would take only 4.3 minutes to get the Martians back to Earth," he said. "Now we can rebuild the Martians in a P4 lab."


Venter isn’t the only one looking for Martian DNA. According to a report in the MIT Technology Review, so is Jonathan Rothberg, founder of the company Ion Torrent.


Rothberg is working with NASA-funded scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard to adapt his company’s Personal Machine for use on Mars, the report says. It’s part of a NASA astrobiology project known as the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes, or SETG.


MIT research scientist Christopher Carr is part of a group that’s "building a miniature RNA/ to search for life beyond Earth," according to his website. "Top places to look include Mars, Enceladus (a moon of Saturn), and Europa (a moon of Jupiter)."


Carr told Tech Review that one of the biggest challenges is shrinking Ion Torrent’s 30-kilogram machine down to a mere 3 kg - light enough to fit on a Mars rover.


That’s just one of the hurdles. NASA has no firm plans for a rover to succeed Curiosity, the lab-on-wheels that reached the Red Planet in August. Even if a new rover gets the green light, there’s no guarantee that a gene sequencer would get one of the coveted spots for research instruments.


Article from: phys.org





Related Articles
Mars Sample Return Mission? Naaah… Just Beam Back Martian DNA
Craig Venter On Mars DNA Plan: ’We Can Rebuild The Martians’ In Earth Lab
Darpa, Venter Launch Assembly Line for Genetic Engineering
J. Craig Venter Create Synthetic Life - Could it Wipe out Humanity?
Craig Venter creates first synthetic life form
’Darth Venter’ (J. Craig Venter) & The Archon Genomics X Prize
Ancient Foreign DNA Found in Modern Human DNA
“We could put the whole world’s knowledge in 4 grams of DNA”
Far From ‘Junk’, Bits of Mystery DNA Play Crucial Role


Latest News from our Front Page

Not Again: More US AID, Missiles Shipped to al Qaeda, al Nusra and ISIS in Syria, Iraq
2015-03-06 4:28
Two weeks ago, 21WIRE reported on how ISIS and other terrorists militants operating in Syria and Iraq are receiving regular weapons and ‘supply drops’ – forming a ‘rat line’ which seems to be playing a crucial role in keeping this highly profitable conflict going on both sides. This week, it’s been reported that Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters have been brandishing US-supplied ...
Swedish parliament removes Baroque artist's bare breasted painting for offending feminists and Muslims
2015-03-06 3:28
A nude painting named Juno, which was painted by baroque artist G E Schröder and has hung in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years has been taken down for fear of offending the sensitivities of feminists and Muslim visitors, Swedish newspaper, The Local reported on Thursday. Explaining the ban on the baroque breasts, a source from the ...
White US children will be minorities by 2020 after immigrant 'baby boom', Census reveals
2015-03-05 19:50
This is the result of an ongoing trend of declining birth among white Americans and a baby boom among immigrant groups, as well as a surge in immigration. By the year 2020, 50.2percent of all children in the US are expected to be non-white, according to the Census. By 2044, whites will be outnumbered by minorities. The Census study, released ...
New Jersey Shopkeeper Hangs 'White History Month' Sign In Window
2015-03-05 18:08
A deli owner in Flemington, New Jersey, has angered many of his neighbors by posting a sign on his window that reads, "Celebrate Your White Heritage in March White History Month." Jim Boggess, who is the owner of Jimbo's Deli, says he put up the sign to remind everyone that they should be proud of their race and culture. "No matter what ...
The Viking ”Maine Penny” Mystery
2015-03-05 3:41
In 1957, during his second year of digging at the Goddard site; a large prehistoric Indian trade village in Penobscot Bay on the central Maine coast, local resident and amateur archaeologist Guy Mellgren found a small silver coin. The coin is later identified by experts as a Norse silver penny dating to the reign of Olaf Kyrre, king of Norway ...
More News »