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We're carbon-based based life form with (mostly) iron-based oxygen transportation for apparently good reasons.

Is the same true for why life on Earth developed using nucleotides, amino acids, RNA and DNA: "the chemistry" just works easiest that way?

For example, are A, C, G, U the RNA bases for some "good chemistry reason", or would any C-N ring work? I'm dubious about that, since dinitrophenol is also a C-N ring, and it's highly toxic.

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    $\begingroup$ Unclear what you're asking. Are there other imaginable configurations? sure. RNA could be made of 4 different bases that aren't A, C, G, U, or maybe 5. DNA could never have been used in genomes I suppose. I can come up with lots of superficially plausible ways for life to happen. But the only way to really know for sure is to "replay the tape of life" and see what happens next time, or go look at other planets where life has developed. Alternate proposed configurations (e.g. arsenic instead of phosphorus in DNA) have generally been debunked. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2023 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MaximilianPress "arsenic instead of phosphorus in DNA) have generally been debunked" is the kind of thing I'm looking for. As for "imaginable configurations"... we can imagine a lot of stuff that doesn't really work. To clarify: are A, C, G, U the RNA bases for some "good chemistry reason", or would any C-N ring work? (I'll edit the question to add that. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jul 13, 2023 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, exactly. There are many superficially plausible (not merely imaginable) biochemical configurations for life. See the field of exobiology/astrobiology, and alternative biochemistries. Trivially, there exist synthetic nucleotides. Ultimately, the only test is that of empiricism: you have to go find / build biology that uses these systems to know whether it works, and that has only been successful for rather minor variations. $\endgroup$ Jul 15, 2023 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MaximilianPress your link to alternative biochemistries is the exact same as what I mentioned in my question. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jul 15, 2023 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you've read that page then I'm not sure why you're asking the question, honestly. It didn't occur to me to look at it when it seemed to be a reference for us being carbon-based life, which was not really under dispute. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2023 at 5:01

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