Single Molecule Sequencing for Life Detection (Video)
Our SETG life detection team, represented by Julie Hachey, presented at Oxford Nanopore's Community Meeting, December 1-2, 2016 on single molecule sequencing for life detection beyond Earth (video).
DNA, the basis for heritability and evolution in all known life, is generally composed of four informational bases (A, C, G, and T). It has been known that (nucleo)bases are synthesized in space by solar ultraviolet light interacting with primordial volatile materials (ices). The most abundance base in meteorites is guanine (G), followed by hypoxanthine, denoted inosine (I) when it is connected to a sugar.
We demonstrated the ability to detect inosine (I) using single molecule sequencing. Inosine is found in all life, being critical for the genetic code, when specifies how DNA bases encode proteins. Perhaps the genetic code has a basis in astrochemistry.
See also: Carr CE, Mojarro A, Hachey J, Saboda K, Tani J, Bhattaru SA, Smith A, Pontefract A, Zuber MT, Finney M, Doebler R, Brown M, Talbot R, Nguyen V, Bailey R, Ferguson T, Church G, Ruvkun G. Towards In Situ Sequencing for Life Detection. Aerospace Conference, 2017 IEEE. March 4-11, Big Sky, Montana. Session 2.07 In Situ Instruments for Landed Surface Exploration, Orbiters and Flybys. Paper # 2353 doi: 10.1109/AERO.2017.7943896 | ResearchGate