Hydrofluorocarbons consist of long chains of carbon with hydrogen or fluorine attached to them. So you could have chains like: enter image description here DNA uses patterns of nucleobases A C G T as a “language” to keep their protein recipes. But as far as I know, the only thing that is needed in nucleobases is for them to link together, A to T and C to G, more specifically. So my idea is that these cells could use Hydrofluorocarbons as a substitute for DNA. As H and F are attracted to each other, they can act as a substitute for nucleobases. You would have a long string of carbon, with the order of fluorine and hydrogens coding for proteins. So HF could be A, which would bond to FH which is T, then you have HH is C, which bonds to FF which is G. So could hypothetical cells use patterns of Hydrogen and fluorine in long Hydrofluorocarbons as their DNA?

  • $\begingroup$ Worlds like this are usually made by people after they've gained their PhD in an applicable field. After looking at this chart I can see where what you're doing is possible, but it's like asking if you can build a computer from a grain of sand (a Q I can answer). The distance between this Q and a science-based life form is massive. I should think this depends on how DNA affects cell growth and whether or not chemically this compound could be situated to do the same thing. Wow. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ How is the creature supposed to build the molecule in the first place? $\endgroup$ Commented May 31, 2022 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


It depends on what you mean by "use." If you mean could they store information in HFCs in the same way that DNA stores information in nucleobases, then yes, it is possible. However, if you mean could they actually use HFCs as their primary genetic material, then the answer is probably no.

The reason why DNA uses specific nucleobases is because those are the molecules that can form the correct type of bond (a hydrogen bond) to hold the double helix together. HFCs could potentially form a similar type of bond, but it is unlikely that they would be able to do so with the same efficiency as nucleobases. Additionally, there are enzymes that specifically recognize and bind to nucleobases, which would not be able to bind to HFCs. Therefore, while HFCs could theoretically be used to store genetic information, they would not be able to perform all of the functions of DNA.


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