Around the world, several labs are drawing close to the threshold of a second genesis, an achievement that some would call one of the most profound scientific breakthroughs of all time. David Deamer, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been saying that scientists would create synthetic life in "five or 10 years" for three decades, but finally he might actually be right. "The momentum is building," he says. "We're knocking at the door."
Meanwhile, a no-less profound search is on for a "shadow biosphere" — life forms that are unrelated to the life we know because they are descendants of an independent origin of life. We know for sure that life got going on Earth once, so why couldn't it have happened twice? Many scientists argue that there is no reason why a second genesis might not have taken place, and no reason why its descendants should not still be living among us.
Obviously, this raises some interesting questions. Has this happened? Can we detect it? What are the interactions between the 'First Genesis' and the 'Second Genesis'? How does this affect us? And personally, are we part of the 'First Wave' or the Second?
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