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article imageReport: 'Every one of you is an alien'

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 14, 2008 in Environment
British scientists claim that life on our planet originated elsewhere, not on Earth. They confirm an important part of genetic material found in a meteorite is of extraterrestrial origin.
Zita Martins, a research associate at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering of the Imperial College, has come forward with this bold theory. According to Martins, the parts of raw material necessary to create the first molecules of DNA and RNA may be of extraterrestrial origin.
Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old and scientists believe there were primitive simple creatures formed soon after. But no one is certain when exactly the first life was exactly formed.
But Martin and her colleagues believe the first life was made possible with the help of meteorites. They discovered uracil and xanthine, precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA in the meteorites. The researchers found the nucleobases (uracil and xanthine) in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969.
Martins explained in her research paper published in the current issue of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters:
Early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.
Martins and her team successfully proved that the nucleobases came with the meteorite and are present in the meteorite not because of contamination.
Martins claims there were plentiful meteor showers during the early years of Earth between 3.8 and 4.5 billion years ago. She said large number of rocks similar to the Murchison meteorite rained down on Earth as primitive life was slowly forming. She added the heavy bombardment of meteorites could have dropped large amount of genetic material on the Earth’s surface and also on other planets like Mars.
Mark Sephton, Imperial's Department of Earth Science and Engineering praised this research and said in a press statement: "Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life - including nucleobases - could be widespread in the cosmos…As more and more of life's raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely."
If the report is true and before the aliens do further damage to the Earth, will they go back where they came from? Or is Earth like the concept “Finders Keepers”?
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