How did life appear on Earth? The dominant scientific theory is that the first cells appeared on our planet in a “primitive soup” made of organic molecules, under the onslaught of physical and chemical phenomena. Although taught in biology textbooks, this theory of abiogenesis does not convince everyone. Since the 1960s, a competing hypothesis postulates that interstellar dust carries in itself germs of life. One of the founders of this theory, known as panspermia, published last March a scientific article with 32 other researchers to defend the extraterrestrial origin of life on our planet. By inviting to this dispute the octopus, animal that inherit, according to them, at least part of its genome of space! A staggering animal If Chandra Wickramasinghe and his colleagues have studied octopus, it is because this remarkably intelligent and complex mollusk seems to have jumped into the evolution tree. And compare the animal with its more distant cephalopod ancestors appeared 500 million years ago. “His bulky brain and sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible tissues, instant camouflage with the ability to change color and shape are some of the striking features that suddenly appear on the evolutionary stage.” explains the article in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Science would struggle to find the genes necessary for these physical qualities in the cousins of the octopus appeared earlier, from nautilus to squid, through the cuttlefish. Unless borrowed from the future, they could come from the cosmos, scientists say. “Cryopreserved” eggs! Paul the octopus , an alien? In support of their demonstration, the researchers note that in the octopus, the messenger RNA, this replica of DNA which allows the synthesis of proteins, is endowed with properties which one does not find in the nautilus, one of its closest relatives, or any other animal form, vertebrate or invertebrate, on Earth (or in negligible proportions). Chandra Wickramasinghe’s team then formulates hardly credible assumptions. First, it suggests that retroviruses using comets or asteroids could insert extraterrestrial genes into the octopus genome. But these renowned researchers also imagine that these space racing cars were able to cause Earth’s octopus eggs to break down “cryopreserved”, that is, kept intact by the ice! A track to “do not discard” to explain “the sudden emergence of the octopus on Earth”, about 270 million years ago. Throughout their article, biologists recognize that to accept this idea, it is necessary to question the prevailing paradigm. New evidence expected A step that Karin Moelling, renowned virologist of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, does not take in the same review: “This article is useful, it needs attention,” she concedes, “but the main statement on viruses, microbes and even animals coming from space can not be taken seriously, “she sweeps. “The usual” mantra “according to which” other research is necessary “applies even more than usual”, tempers on its side the British biologist Denis Noble in the same publication. As for the authors of the article, they themselves ask for new evidence. The controversial theory had already fallen from the sky two years ago, but in favor of a mistake. In August 2015, an article published in the journal ” Nature ” described for the first time the sequencing of the octopus genome to conclude that it was a unique species of its kind. In the press release announcing the work, Clifton Ragsdale, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago, had made the following statement: “The late British biologist Martin Wells said the octopus was an alien. In this sense, our article describes the first sequenced genome of an alien. As demonstrated by the fact-checking site Snopes , it was enough for the joke to become on the Internet certified information. The future may tell if Martin Wells, who died in 2009, was right. READ ALSO> Probable geysers on the moon of Jupiter: the hope of an extraterrestrial life
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