What'sNEWPlant viruses may be reshaping our world, ASU (+PhysOrg.com), 17 Jul 2019. Thanks, Google Alerts.
If all of the virus genes were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 250 million light-years.
The genomes of polyextremophilic cyanidiales contain 1% horizontally transferred genes with diverse adaptive functions by Alessandro W Rossoni et al., doi:10.7554/eLife.45017, eLife, 31 May 2019.
Hayabusa2 touched down on Ryugu to collect material from beneath the surface.
Japanese spacecraft probes asteroid's guts for first time, Nature News, 10 Jul 2019.
What If Life Did Not Originate on Earth? by Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 08 Jul 2019.
Thanks, Glenda Ruby. 06 Jan 2017: more on Ruvkun.
The interview led us to his recent TED-style lecture explaining how genomics and early life point to panspermia:
...Interstellar Communication with Microbes..., YouTube, 17 Apr 2019. 21 Dec 2017: more on Zubrin.
How is it Possible? includes our early speculations about intentionally undertaking panspermia to avoid extinction.
Before a bacterial gene can even operate in a eukaryotic cell, it has some major biological hurdles to overcome. It must acquire introns, a promoter sequence, and a termination sequence. It also has to be able to interact fruitfully with existing host genes. ...Researchers are trying to understand how this enormous leap occurs.
...against slim odds, some of these bacterial genes have introduced novel and critical functions to their new hosts. These transfers, say researchers, are an overlooked source of fodder for evolutionary transformation in complex organisms.
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is not overlooked in cosmic ancestry. We think it is essential for evolutionary progress. We highly recommend the new open-access review article by Viviane Callier....Gene transfers from bacteria and viruses may be shaping complex organisms, doi:10.1073/pnas.1909030116, by Viviane Callier, PNAS, 09 Jul 2019.
Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms is our main related webpage.
Robust Software Management in Genomes begins our attempt "to understand how this enormous leap occurs."
Study suggests asteroids might play key role in spreading life by Peter Reuell, posted on Physorg.com (originally Harvard Gazette), 08 Jul 2019. Thanks, Ted Steele. 11-15 Oct and 09 Feb 2018: more about this study. Three weeks ago another astronomer reported that neighboring stars may swap life-bearing cometary material frequently. We welcome endorsements of panspermia, but these recent studies are only about the transfer of physical material. It would be fanciful to assert that life is out there without the pioneering work by Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) and Chandra Wickramasighe (b. 1939). Beginning in the 1960s, they made careful spectrographic analyses of interstellar dust. By 1980 they had found solid evidence for organic molecules and even whole bacteria in the dust. Their research gave interstellar panspermia its most substantial support.
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's Analysis of Interstellar Dust has an historical outline.
04 July 2019: Chandra Wickramasinghe reviews his role in the development of cometary panspermia theory.