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talljasperman's avatar

Do silicone based viruses or life exist?

Asked by talljasperman (18251 points ) January 24th, 2014

As opposed to carbon? Would the human body be able to fight one off? Also for extra will computers considered a silicone based life form in the future?

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6 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We would have to go to a silicon based life form world to find out. And the computer would be germanium based? ?

talljasperman's avatar

@Tropical_Willie No I am not making a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy comment.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I did not answer 42.
Scientists have asked question of non-Carbon based life form for the last fifty years. No answer yet.

dabbler's avatar

I was thinking Star Trek:Enterprise… in one of the episodes they encounter a silicon-based virus and it was so peculiar the doctor had to devise new tests just to detect it. Then he had to cook up some radical new radiation therapy to cure it.
In that scenario the silicon-based life-form was totally off their radar.

filmfann's avatar

In theory, a silicone based virus would be unable to replicate or grow in a carbon based life form.
In practice, who knows?

gasman's avatar

Silicon (not silicone), while chemically related to carbon on the periodic table, does not form the rich diversity of compounds that carbon does owing to the larger atomic radius of silicon, so Si-based biochemistry is not a likely scenario. Side groups and double bonds, for instance, do not form as readily. Moreover SiO2 (the analog of CO2) does not dissolve in water, making water-based biochemistry unlikely. Also the cosmic abundance of silicon is just a fraction that of carbon.

Discussion at Wikipedia here

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