“Think about those oldest living things on Earth, but in a cosmic proportion: this is not insignificant; this is very significant. So life might be insignificant in size, but it is not insignificant in time. Life and the universe compare to each other like a child and a parent – parent and offspring. So what does this tell us? This tells us that that insignificance paradigm that we somehow got to learn from the Copernican principle – it’s all wrong. There is an immense, powerful potential in life in this universe, especially now that we know that places like the Earth are common. And that potential, that powerful potential, it is also our potential – of you and me. And if we are to be stewards of our planet Earth and of its biosphere, we’d better understand the cosmic significance – and do something about it.”
Dr Arnaud Lucotte said the discovery could assist physicists in the hunt for the elusive Higgs boson, or "God particle".
"From the beginning I've seen the genetic code in two ways: as raw material that could be translated into notes, and also as a thing of wonder and a thing of extraordinary beauty; and it was from both points of view that the piece arose," he told BBC News.