June 26, 2007

Uh, no.

Just caught a New York Times article exploring the possibility that human DNA is the ultimate spot for secret messages. I've heard this suggestion before -- that extraterrestrials may have planted some sort of message in our DNA that we are meant to discover.

I'm not going to waste any time on this goose chase aside from saying that this would be a rather round-about and obscure way to communicate with us. I'm sure there are much, much better ways for ETI's to contact us should they want to.

2 comments:

Fred said...

Wouldn't this be an attempt to verify the 'Gilgamesh' story?

Sure, it's not very likely..but evidence of genetic tampering would boost the credibility of those myths.

Anonymous said...

See this figure and caption:

http://www.coseti.org/images/lefig_3.gif

FIGURE 3: Nakamura (1986) examined the DNA structure of the SV40 virus. In (a) is shown a part of the genetic structure that the author considered to be a star map. In (b) is a representation of the map of the constellation Eridani.

References:

Nakamura, H., SV40 DNA: A Message from Epsilon-Eridani?, Acta
Astronautica, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 573-578, 1986

Yokoo, H., and Oshima, T., Is Bacteriophage Phi X 174 DNA a
Message from an ETI?, Icarus, vol. 38, pp. 148-153, 1979

Excerpt quote:

“There have been some speculations that a simple biological system carrying a message and capable of self-replication in suitable environments may be one possible channel for interstellar communication (Yokoo and Oshima, 1979, and Nakamura, 1986). These kinds of ideas have several and severe objections. For example, the impossibility of predicting the environment of the target star in order to favor the self-replication of the molecular structure, the impossibility of avoiding the destruction of the content of the message by molecular mutations, and the impossibility for us to distinguish between a “natural” organism and a real biological interstellar message.”

The full article here:

http://www.coseti.org/lemarch1.htm


Joe Davis is a scientist and artist in residence at MIT. Among other
things he has promoted the idea of ETI sending messages via DNA
through interstellar dust spread about the galaxy. He has also placed
various artworks in the DNA of microbes - see the SciAM article
linked to this page below:

http://www.viewingspace.com/genetics_culture/pages_genetics_culture/gc_w03/davis_joe.htm