Alternative chemistries of life: empirical approaches

Jay T. Goodwin (Editor), David G. Lynn (Editor), Cynthia Burrows, Sara Walker, Shady Amin, E. Virginia Armbrust

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


By defining the genome of Earth’s oceans and the chemical composition of exoplanets within habitable zones around other stars, we step ever closer to defining life and the chemistry that underlies its range. Could life on Earth represent the single solution, radiating from a point across space and time, or are there different forms, alternative chemistries that emerge in very different molecular environments? Any discovery of alternative chemistries that operate orthogonal to and independent of our current central biochemical dogma will change the understanding of our place in the universe. This workshop was a first critical step, bringing together diverse constituencies to not only define alternative chemistries, but also to focus on where and how to look. The collective results are profound, both in terms of scientific necessity and our future survival. In this report, we share the implications and the actions that emerged both to inspire and expand collaborations across scientific and international research communities and to mobilize our collective wisdom in shaping and guiding our biochemical future.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationWashington D.C.
PublisherNational Science Foundation
Number of pages54
StatePublished - 2014


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