Scientists have found evidence of life in DNA fragments collected in the Atacama Desert in Chile, one of the most hostile areas for life on Earth. About 9% of the detected DNA is considered unknown to science. For researchers, the discovery could pave the way for traces of life on Mars, a planet with similarities to the Chilean desert.
Scientists used state-of-the-art equipment on rocks in the area to find the strange genetic material. The results were published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on February 21, 2023.
Apart from its appearance, the Atacama region has geological material similar to those found on Mars. Thus, scientists claim they will be able to perform tests and identify DNA in a similar environment to understand the challenges and difficulties of studying Martian desert materials. In fact, the same equipment used and used in missions sent to the red planet was used.
“In almost half of the cases, the databases could not clearly tell what we had. We know there are things to detect. “But if your device isn’t designed to detect them, then we have a problem,” said Armando Azua-Bustos, lead author of the study and microbiologist at the Centro de Astrobiologia de Madrid. Washingtonpost.
So, as the equipment failed to detect 9% of the material analyzed in the Atacama Desert, the same could happen in regions of Mars – possibly at higher rates because it’s a completely different planet.
In any case, scientists believe that this research, and future work in this area, could help solve some questions about the analysis of materials on Mars, and even facilitate the task of rovers aiming to analyze genetic material on the planet.
Source: Tec Mundo
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