A minute dose of astrobiology

The winter holidays have arrived.  To be thoroughly honest, they infuriate me a tad – my mind is still dumbfounded by the lack of immediately-due homework, and I find myself unable to focus on items that typically interest me.  I will attempt to jerk myself out of this state over the course of today by consuming food prepared in the spirit of Chinese hot pot.  If you haven’t previously eaten hot pot, then I would advise you to give it a try – it’s holistically delicious, and caters to many diverse tastes.

I will commence blogging more regularly over the course of this winter break; if I may not contribute a lengthy post on a given day, then I will simply post a question.  I would ask that you respond to it if you’ve some time and a relevant interest.  We can then lapse into erratic, joyous discussion!  The first question (or rather, set of related questions), then, is the below:

Which hypothetical alternative biochemistry do you favor?  Would it just be one with differing chirality of its biomolecules?  Additionally, which other biomolecules would be capable of encoding information, should nucleic acids be absent?

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6 Responses to A minute dose of astrobiology

  1. Dr. Skeptic says:

    Interesting. I would say that prions hold a key position in that respect: as informational macromolecules!

    Loving your blog. Adding you as a blog buddy. Subscribing to your posts as well! Lets do this, aye? 😛

    • Sophia says:

      I was contemplating this one day after having viewed an astrobiology lecture.

      Ah, prions. A fascinating idea, yes; I am reminded of certain protein folding problems as they appear on M.I.T. O.C.W.
      I also recall a study’s being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences some time ago – not, precisely, notes on their extraterrestrial implementation, but just information showcasing their ability to gradually adapt when being transferred from one cell line to the next, and thus to produce useful variants. They’ve major potential in every aspect of their being.

      With regards to them [prions], actually, I was also considering the following: PrPC is normally produced; PrPSc changes the shape of the normal host prion protein, ensuring that it’s misfolded and thus damaging to cells. Insofar as I am aware, we do not require mass amounts of the former for any particular purpose, so an absence of it may not necessarily cause us harm. Why not seek something that inhibits its formation?

      The following proves to be interesting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC478560/.

      Thank you so much! Whilst mine is nothing to shout about, I love yours; I’m highly privileged to be corresponding with you. Indeed, let’s do this thing! ^_^

      • Dr. Skeptic says:

        The thing is, prions, or the group of proteins thus conferred upon are now considered to be more than merely misfolded proteins of the PrP genre. In diseases like cystic fibrosis and alzheimer, they are clamoring for more attention as potential pathophysiological entities. Heck some chronic, sub-clinical infections, like tuberculosis, is also attributed to have putative roles in “prioinization” of proteins, if I may say so! Very very intriguing concept, this!

  2. Dr. Skeptic says:

    OK. couldn’t subscribe. You do not have the subscribe via email on. Why not turn it on and leave me a buzz back onb my homepage so that we can connect? 🙂

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