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Will Alien Life Resemble Us (And How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids

Presenter: Stephen Freeland, University of Hawaii, Manoa
When: September 3, 2010 9AM PDT

A fundamental challenge for astrobiology is to establish the relative contributions of chance versus predictability in the origin and evolution of life on our own planet. Thus, for example, all Earth-life creates metabolism from an interacting network of protein molecules that catalyze various biochemical reactions. Furthermore, early during evolution it had arrived at a standard set of 20 amino acid building-blocks with which to build each of these proteins. We now have good reason to think that many of these amino acids are formed in significant quantities throughout the galaxy – but so are many others – so would alien life be like us, and how could we possibly know?

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