"including the possibility of silicon-based life forms"
Really? You want to go there? You might want to research that a bit. You'd be hard pressed to find a biologist that believes silicon based life forms is even a remote possibility ANYWHERE in the universe. Silicon is abundant, but silicon based molecules similar to organic carbon based molecules are nowhere near as abundant and, more importantly, diverse. Consider the fact that on Earth, silicon is more abundant than carbon by over 900:1 and yet life is carbon based. There's is nothing even remotely compelling about the idea of silicon based life.
I seem to remember learning that some living organisms on earth incorporate silicon in an organic manner.
As I remember it was mainly single-celled organisms, some plankton and some mosses.
I am going back 40 years but I seem to remember that some friend-of-a-friend was going to do a PhD studying Canadian moss that includes silicon-based organic chemistry.
Perhaps he never found the moss and never got his PhD.
Incorporating silicon is one thing. It's not unlike incorporating calcium for use in bones, or iron for use in blood. Life requires a great deal of chemical diversity and silicon just isn't chemically capable of that kind of diversity under any known conditions (temperature and pressure). Fats, Carbohydrates, Nucleic Acids, and Proteins are all carbon based and represent an enormous diversity of chemical structures. You just can't come close to that with silicon based molecules.
I'm not aware of silicon being used in an "organic" fashion. I'd love to see examples, though.
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