DNA is shown hardy enough to survive space travel
26 November 2014
DNA carries the blueprint of all life, and its survival during space travel is essential if life is to be regarded a cosmic phenomenon. DNA (plasmid DNA) mounted on the exterior of a TEXUS-49 rocket was launched from Kiruna in Northern Sweden in November 2011. On its 13 minute flight the external temperature peaked at 1000°C, and to the surprise of the investigators the DNA was not denatured. The biological function, which was to impart antibiotic resistance to a colony of bacteria, was shown to have remained intact. This shows that DNA (and viruses) can survive the rigours of space travel – escape at high speed through the atmosphere of one planet and land intact on another. The result, if it is shown to hold also for chromosomal DNA, gives strong support for the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory of Evolution from Space. Along with the well-attested modern data on Horizontal Gene Transfer (viruses aiding evolution by transferring genes), and the presence of viral sequences in our own genes (Tokoro and Wickramasinghe, 2014) the new result extends the operation of the same processes across the boundaries of planets. The work lends very strong support to the theory of cometary panspermia. The work also shows that incoming virions from space can change the virus population already on Earth and cause the flare-up of pandemic disease.