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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 37-38

What would be the tooth structure at non-carbon-based-life?

1 Founder and Managing Editor of Dental Hypotheses, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Periodontics and Implant, School of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication5-Jun-2013

Correspondence Address:
Jafar Kolahi
N0 24, Faree 15, Pardis, Shahin Shahr, Isfahan, Postal Code: 83179 18981
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2155-8213.112998

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How to cite this article:
Kolahi J, Shayesteh YS. What would be the tooth structure at non-carbon-based-life?. Dent Hypotheses 2013;4:37-8

How to cite this URL:
Kolahi J, Shayesteh YS. What would be the tooth structure at non-carbon-based-life?. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Mar 22];4:37-8. Available from:

Some years ago, I read a fascinating hypothesis regarding the zinc world. [1],[2] I was actually surprised reading this hypothesis. God is perfectly able to do all things even the creation of non-carbon-based-life, e.g., the zinc world. However, our current life is a journey through the world of carbon. Carbon forms the key component for all known naturally occurring life on Earth. Proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, etc., are all based on carbon. It is often assumed in astrobiology that if life exists somewhere else in the universe, it will also be carbon based. This assumption is referred to by critics as carbon chauvinism. [3]

Nevertheless, hypothetical types of biochemistry are forms of biochemistry speculated to be scientifically viable but not proven to exist at this time. While the kinds of living beings we know on Earth commonly use carbon for basic structural and metabolic functions, water as a solvent and DNA or RNA to define and control their form, it may be possible that undiscovered life-forms could exist that differ radically in their basic structures and biochemistry from that known to science. The possibility of extra-terrestrial life is a common subject in science fiction but is also discussed in a non-fiction scientific context. [4] Of more interest the recent data on the far ultraviolet extinction of starlight in our galaxy and in external galaxies is interpreted in terms of the widespread occurrence of nanobacteria. [5]

Such aliens may bring us new disease such as periodontal, cardiovascular, and kidney diseases via space travels or meteorites or interstellar dusts. [6]

Though, Silicon has been a theme of non-carbon-based-life since it also has four bonding sites and is just below carbon on the periodic table of the elements. [6] Somewhat in support, in September 2012, NASA scientists reported that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, subjected to the interstellar medium conditions, are transformed, through hydrogenation, oxygenation and hydroxylation, to more complex organics: "A step along the path toward amino acids and nucleotides, the raw materials of proteins and DNA, respectively" [Figure 1]. [7],[8]
Figure 1: Researchers are brewing up icy, organic concoctions in the lab to mimic materials at the edge of our solar system and beyond. The laboratory equipment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., is seen at right, and a very young solar system, with its swirling planet-forming disk, is shown in the artist's concept at left. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Another possible non-carbone-based life would be zinc world. The hypothesis suggests that zinc-based life may emerge within compartmentalized, photosynthesizing ZnS formations of hydrothermal origin. The Zn world hypothesis leads to a set of testable predictions regarding the specific roles of Zn 2+ ions in modern organisms, particularly in RNA and protein structures related to the procession of RNA. [1],[2]

In addition to carbon compounds, all currently known terrestrial life also requires water as a solvent. This has led to discussions about whether water is the only liquid capable of filling that role. The idea that an extraterrestrial life-form might be based on a solvent other than water has been taken seriously in recent scientific literature. [4] Potential alternative solvents possibly will be ammonia, sulfuric acid, formamide, methane, hydrogen fluoride, and (at temperatures much lower than Earth's) liquid nitrogen, or hydrogen in the form of a supercritical fluid. [4]

However, tooth structure at our carbon world, based on hydroxyapatite (Ca 10 [PO4] 6 [OH] 2 ) and collagen. What would be its structure at non-Carbone-based life, e.g., silicon, zinc, or borne- base world? Hypothetical types of biochemistry will answer this question. Chlorine may be considered as an alternative for oxygen, arsenic as an alternative for phosphors, Selenium or Tellurium as an alternative for protein sulfur. [4] In such world water may perhaps be replaced by ammonia, methane or hydrogen fluoride. [4]

It is a pleasure for me to invite our intelligent readers and authors to comment on this topic. We await for your interesting, innovative and thought provocative scientific hypotheses that could be used as a basis for further investigation. [9]

  References Top

1.Mulkidjanian AY. On the origin of life in the zinc world: 1. Photosynthesizing, porous edifices built of hydrothermally precipitated zinc sulfide as cradles of life on Earth. Biol Direct 2009;4:26.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Mulkidjanian AY, Galperin MY. On the origin of life in the zinc world. 2. Validation of the hypothesis on the photosynthesizing zinc sulfide edifices as cradles of life on Earth. Biol Direct 2009;4:27.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Carbone-based life. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Apr 03].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Hypothetical types of biochemistry. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Apr 03].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Wickramasinghe JT, Wickramasinghe NC. A Cosmic prevalence of nanobacteria? Astrophys Space Sci 2006;305:411-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Kolahi J. Cosmic transmission of periodontal, cardiovascular and kidney diseases via nanobacteria. Dent Hypotheses 2011;2:49-54.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.NASA′s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2012, September 18). How life arose on earth: Researchers brew up organics on ice. science daily. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Apr 03].  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Gudipati MS, Yang R. In-situ probing of radiation-induced processing of organics in astrophysical ice analogs novel laser desorption laser ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopic studies. Astrophys J Lett 2012;756:L24.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Rossomando EF. Welcome to tomorrow. Dent Hypotheses 2010;1:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
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  [Figure 1]

This article has been cited by
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[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Tooth structure at noncarbon-based-life: Is it a scientific topic?
Kolahi, J., Shayesteh, Y.
Dental Hypotheses. 2013; 4(3): 73-74


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