A unique theory about how life arose on Earth may reveal clues to whether and where else it might have arisen in the universe.
Does life exist elsewhere or is our planet unique, making us truly alone in the universe? Much of the work carried out by NASA, together with other research agencies around the world, is aimed at trying to come to grips with this great and ancient question.
Originally published at www.astrobio.net
A family tree unites a diverse group of individuals that all carry genetic vestiges from a single common ancestor at the base of the tree. But this organizational structure falls apart if genetic information is a communal resource as opposed to a family possession.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been selected as one of five new research teams joining the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) to study the origin and evolution of life, on a five-year grant totaling approximately $8 million.