Are you an alien?
The Doctor and his companions travel across billions of miles of space and billions of years of time. Their travels take them to the most obscure corners of existence, where they meet some very interesting characters. Some of those characters actually turn out to be friendly. It is important to note, of course, that just because one or two members of a species are friendly, doesn’t mean the lot of them are. After all, not all humans are kind and benevolent, but it would be wrong to say we are all evil. From the Forest of Cheem to the Argolin, here are Doctor Who’s Friendly Aliens…
Organisers of the International Barcode of Life conference, in Adelaide this week, plan to use miniature DNA decoding devices to answer the question: “What species is that?”
Conference co-chair and director of the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity at the University of Adelaide, Professor Andrew Lowe, says this is one of the most exciting developments in genomics.
“You point this thing at an alien species and it tells you all about it. That’s where we want to get to … maybe in five years, which is really neat.”
By 2015 scientists expect to have a reference library of five million standardised DNA sequences they can use to identify 500,000 species, which is more than a quarter of all known species on Earth.
They would take a sample and then compare it with the sequences in the database, looking for a match.