What does it mean to say life is carbon-based? Are we literally made out of carbon? Could life exist based from another element?

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What does it mean to say life is carbon-based? Are we literally made out of carbon? Could life exist based from another element?

In: Biology

Most of our DNA and cell structure is carbon, yes. In each molecule of bio-material, a majority of what you are is carbon by weight. And yes, it is a theory that life could also exist based on other elements like silicon because it creates the same number of bonds in a molecule as carbon does, and so it would behave in a similar way

Yes, carbon is basically one of the fundamental elements in several building blocks, like proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and probably most importantly: nucleic acids, which are the basis of RNA and DNA.

All life on earth is carbon based. All of it. It’s theorized that alien life *could* be supported using silicon instead.

Yes indeed. Carbon atoms are central to every one of our protein, fat, and carbohydrate molecules. We are made largely of carbon.

Silicon is chemically shaped somewhat like carbon, and scientists imagine there could be a planet with silicon-based life somewhere.

Carbon is the main atom that builds up all of the molecules that allow for life to even exist. Why? Because carbon easily bonds with pretty much anything else AND easily makes long chains as well. Sugars? Carbohydrates (it’s in the name).. Proteins? Anything you eat… All carbon based.

Very very theoretically silicon could be the base of some other life forms but it’s not as good at what it does as carbon so even that is possible but unlikely.

Think of Carbon as the friendly atom. It likes to have lots of friends around and when they get together magic happens.