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Genomic SETI Initiative identifies potential DNA 'Wow! Signal' hidden in non-coding regions
This finding, which emerged from a process of cross-referencing specific target patterns against existing genetic studies, highlights dozens of short DNA sequences displaying currently inexplicable differences from expectation, which can be interpreted as an intervention in normal evolutionary processes. The anomalous genomic regions in question are not well studied, but have been implicated as having key roles in controlling gene expression. These segments of DNA are designated Human Accelerated Regions (HARs) and their origination dates to the Middle Pleistocene (2.580 to 0.773 million years ago).
The full results of the Genomic SETI Initiative are to be published on the 1st of June in the book Exogenesis Hybrid Humans: A Scientific History of Extraterrestrial Genetic Manipulation.
Expanding the Search
The Genomic SETI research began at the suggestion of noted astrophysicist Professor Paul Davies, chairman of the SETI Post Detection Task Force.
"If there were alien technology in the solar system, when did it arrive? A hundred million years ago? What would last a hundred million years? Not much but there are some things, like nuclear waste. Or any sort of biotechnology that has knock-on effects: If you tinkered with genomes a hundred million years ago, the traces of that would still be with us today," said Arizona State University physicist Professor Davies.
Professor Davies highlighted the potential for a suitably skilled graduate student to run a low cost, short duration, genomic data mining project that could complement the better-known search for alien radio signatures. Davies explains, "... it seems to me we could, in addition to scouring the skies for radio waves with a message encoded, we could scour terrestrial genomes which are being sequenced anyway to see if there is a message from ET encoded in it."
The senior SETI Institute astronomer, Dr Seth Shostak, expressed open-minded scepticism about the idea but offered the opinion that it was not a bad idea and required little time investment. "I think it's a two-week project actually," said Dr Shostak.
Formulating the Protocols
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