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Chance and necessity in biochemistry: implications for the search for extraterrestrial biomarkers in Earth-like environments

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of Astrobiology
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
May 31, 2014
Volume
14
Issue
6
Pages
534–540
Source
SETI Institute
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper, we examine a restricted subset of the question of possible alien biochemistries. That is, we look into how different life might be if it emerged in environments similar to that required for life on Earth. We advocate a principle of chance and necessity in biochemistry. According to this principle, biochemistry is in some fundamental way the sum of two processes: there is an aspect of biochemistry that is an endowment from prebiotic processes, which represents the necessity, plus an aspect that is invented by the process ...

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