August 10, 2004

DNA may contain the message we're looking for. If you're familiar with SETI, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence using radio waves, this article postulates that we need to be looking in the genetic code: DNA, the molecule that contains the script of life, encodes its data in a four-letter alphabet. This would be an ideal medium for storing a cosmic calling card. In many organisms, humans included, genes make up only a tiny fraction of their DNA. Much of the rest seems to be biological gobbledygook, often called "junk DNA". There is plenty of room there for ET to etch a molecular message without damaging any vital genetic functions.
  • Some parts of DNA are amazingly stable, so this isn't completely far fetched. Plus it would neatly tie into the whole _where_ does life come from question.
  • *whistles twilight zone theme* y'know, just for atmosphere.
  • Not only is this a wacky idea with no basis in reality, it was a Star Trek: Next Generation episode.
  • Damn- rocket88 beat me to the Star Trek reference.
  • The kookiest thing I've heard recently is that not only is DNA encoded messages from the creator / aliens / spirits within, but that ringing in the ears is that code attempting to communicate with someone. "The ringing in your ears is the voice of God," basically.
  • What info can be stashed in there? Hey, that's easy: [1] Human being | Contains aprox. 75% H20 | Best consumed before...
  • No, the ideal medium for storing a cosmic calling card would be a 1000 foot stone monolith in the middle of some large flat place, ideally with very deep symbols carved into it. Do the rabbits have a message in their DNA? What about llamas? We're not the only things out there with the old double-helix, you know. In Contact, the message was hidden in the decimal exapansion of Pi....
  • I met a guy who thought the ringing in his ears was somebody in his head trying to contact aliens and he was running around handing out leaflets with a wild look in his eye.
  • you're not referring to the hum, are you?
  • Hey, as any programmer for a big company fond of reusing code can tell you, 90% of the code in any of its programs is useless. Aynway, I though that what most transalted genes would say is "Hey! I'm piggybacking this mutha, but don't tell!".
  • If you are able to accept the idea that aliens might exist and would want to bother contacting us at all, it isn't all that far fetched. We share 98.5% of our DNA with chimps, 97.5% with mice, 60% with fruit flies, and about 50% with the lowly banana, so it's possible there is some base DNA that is shared exactly by all things which have DNA. Or, you know, implanted by a virus sent by aliens. Interesting idea, but until I see some proof that aliens even exist, I'm not going to go get all excited about it. :D
  • ...except recent work in genetics seems to indicate that there may be no such thing as "junk" DNA. from an evolutionary perspective, sure, there are probably bits we could do without, bits that cost more to remove than they would cost to leave in, thus bits that aren't subject to selection, but the long stretches of "junk" seem to be a hell of a lot more important than we first thought.
  • Even if we did manage to decode a message, I daresay we'd discover it's only a cosmic advertisement.
  • Sequencing finished, decoding: 1. "This genetic space for rent" 2. "Eat at Galactic Joe's" 3. "Support alien invasion 2005" 4. "GeneAds by Google"
  • I've copyrighted my own DNA sequence, just in case.
  • Hey, how do you suppose God manages free soul distribution. Revenues have to come from somewhere. So he sells genetic adspace. You think God depends on us returning our souls back to heaven when we die when 80% of them go straight to hell? HA!
  • Human DNA is spam for cosmic viagra.