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Eric J. Johnson

> And there isn't any way to tell which was the original donor, which the original recipient.

Actually, how about sequence diversity at 16S rDNA and other highly conserved loci? Occam would provide that if one planet has significantly more diversity, it is much more likely to be the donor.

That's assuming we are talking about a transfer of bacteria, rather than of some kind of putative precellular, pre-ribosomal life. On the face of it, it seems like the proposed precellular organisms or protoorganisms about which I've happened to overhear (such as populate the basic "RNA world" kind of scenario) might not necessarily transfer well.

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