DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

Launch of the rocket TEXUS-49 from the Esrange Space Center.

Human DNA can survive and persist its ability to pass on genetic information while entering into the Earth's atmosphere, according to a research  by University of Zurich.

Double-stranded DNA molecules were attached to the outside of the payload section of a rocket using pipettes. After the rocket re-entered Earth's atmosphere, the DNA was not only found to be present on the original application points but also able to transfer genetic information to bacteria and connective tissue.

"This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere," said study head Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy.

The experiment was a spontaneous idea implemented with the original experiment of determining the stability of biomarkers after re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.


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