Epic failures in science communication, versions 12,385,395 through 12,385,397:

“DNA in Meteorites Suggests Life Came from Space”

“Found: A Batch of DNA Molecules That Seem To Have Originated in Space”

“DNA, possibly of extraterrestrial origin, found on meteorites”

The problems, of course, is that the meteorites in question were not reported to contain DNA at all. Instead they contained the nucleobases adenine and guanine, which are components of DNA in the same way that axles are a component of a car. Additionally, there were lots of other molecules, that look somewhat similar to the nucleobases found in DNA, and yet are found nowhere in DNA, like 6,8-diaminopurine.

On the other hand, NASA seems to be getting better at press releases, at least compared to the arsenic fiasco. Also, cyanophage S-2L is my new favorite virus.

I couldn’t find the relevant paper in PNAS yet, but here is an unrelated paper on the cool subject of the chemical diversity of meteorites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s