Let's assume that sometime in the next year, we receive a transmission from deep space containing what appears to be blueprints of an alien genome. After extensive study and determining that the data packet is indeed a reservoir of (astro)biological and genomic information describing an alien, presumably intelligent, species, various world governments and members of the scientific community start attempting to clone the aliens.

How would they go about doing this? Could a combination of the Jurassic Park and real world cloning methods be used i.e. identifying the closest Earth analogue to the creature's morphology to use as a surrogate mother and then hybridizing the two species to create some sort of artificial life form resembling the original? Or would we need to wait for the creation of an artificial womb before we could clone any aliens based on a digital copy of their DNA alone (assuming they weren't helpful enough to include the schematics for such technology or we simply haven't been able to make heads or tails of them)?

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    $\begingroup$ It's highly unlikely any real alien would have even the slightest relation to any species on Earth. So I say you'll need an artificial womb specifically build for the alien species. In your JP example, we all share common ancestors no matter how remote. This won't apply to a true alien. It might not even use the same basic building blocks as us. Maybe it's not carbon but silicon based? $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 23 '17 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ Watch Species for a start :) second IF their gnome is NOT compatible with ours say as in Silicon based and .... then we meet Contact and they need to also supply the means to build "the machine" to clone one. Star Trek Universe were we are all based on the same genetic code then sure your Golden and go for it BUT make sure everyone watches Species several times. $\endgroup$ – Enigma Maitreya Mar 23 '17 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ We would obviously call tech support and ask for the blueprints for the cellular machinery in which to place the genome, and the egg or womb or seed necessary to grow the zygote into an independent organism. Without the cellular machinery the genome is like a machine language program without the specifications of the processor. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 23 '17 at 22:45

Genome is not enough.


Turns out that acquired traits can be heritable to an extent. Epigenetic structures control expression of genes (basically switch them on and off), making temporary adaptations heritable, but also set initial conditions for the growth of zygote. Without this epigenetic information, zygote will not develop properly.


In animals giving live birth, condition of mother can have huge impact on development of foetus. Incorrect hormonal balance can even lead to foetus developing opposite phenotypical (what it looks and how is built) sex than is coded by genome. Even in case of animals developing inside eggs, proper care is important. Without right amount of heat, egg will not develop. In case of crocodiles, temperature is what decides what sex the hatchling will develop as.

Unless the message codes for all the information, including epigenetics and external or womb-analogue conditions, you won't get much progress. Artificial womb or not.

But there's one another importatn question: should they try to build an alien?


Interstellar distances are massive. Transferring any materials requires prohibitive energy budget. Same limits don't apply to information. Why then bother sending colony ships, if you could dupe local not-very-intelligent species into building colonists on site? Engineer life form with instinctive knowledge of either genetic engineering or stargate tech. Add extreme breeding rate and either high aggressiveness when not in easily visible captivity or penchant for sneakiness. Send them to the destination, hoping that aborigines will build your engineered life forms. Count on aborigines to teach what they assume are your brethren how their civilisation works, language at the least. Have lifeforms escape and either secretly build stargate beachhead for real invasion, or start building real members of your species (use brain uploading techniques to send mind data to be downloaded into such built blanks). Take over planet. Dispose of aborigines. Dispose of invasion life forms. Dispose of local ecosystem. Install own ecosystem and biochemistry.

Enjoy your new planet, from which you personally will never have any benefit, and which you will never visit. But at the very least, death of your own star, or any other cataclysm will not threaten your species any more.


The transmitted instructions would have been designed to work when received. So they are complete and robust. It's not just a drawing of their cell with every atom in place that we’re expected to build somehow — it’s a workable set of instructins on how to bootstrap the alien life starting with chemestry that the recipient should have available.

So, just follow the directions.

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    $\begingroup$ Which, of course, is exactly what They want us to do . . . The Trojan Horse — now in convenient, do–it–yourself form! $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Mar 24 '17 at 6:21

To use an analogy, the sequence of a DNA is just the code of a software. To execute that code you need to have the appriopriate compiler.

Therefore if you get a complete and correct Basic code, but you have only a Matlab environment to run it, you will keep getting error messages.

So, we are getting the genome, but no info on what the cell need to have to execute that genome.

Which henzymes are needed to untwist, copy, cut, paste, twist it? Which are the related aminoacid that are to be used to build the proteins? These are just few of the questions we need to be provided with an answer, if we want to be enabled to clone an alien.


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