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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

For the first time, living cells have formed carbon-silicon bonds

• by Bec Crew

Scientists have managed to coax living cells into making carbon-silicon bonds, demonstrating for the first time that nature can incorporate silicon - one of the most abundant elements on Earth - into the building blocks of life.

While chemists have achieved carbon-silicon bonds before - they're found in everything from paints and semiconductors to computer and TV screens - they've so far never been found in nature, and these new cells could help us understand more about the possibility of silicon-based life elsewhere in the Universe.

After oxygen, silicon is the second most abundant element in Earth's crust, and yet it has nothing to do with biological life. 

Why silicon has never be incorporated into any kind of biochemistry on Earth has been a long-standing puzzle for scientists, because, in theory, it would have been just as easy for silicon-based lifeforms to have evolved on our planet as the carbon-based ones we know and love.

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