By studying the chemical makeup of stars, researchers have made a "family tree" for our sun and other stellar bodies.
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Mapping the family tree of stars
"By studying chemical signatures found in the stars, they are piecing together these evolutionary trees looking at how the stars formed and how they are connected to each other. The signatures act as a proxy for DNA sequences."
Family tree of stars helps reconstruct Milky Way's formation
"The red dwarf doesn't fall far from the tree. Astronomers are borrowing a technique from biology to build a family tree of the origins of stars. A star's chemical make-up can tell you a lot about where it came from. The universe's first stars were mostly made of hydrogen and helium, and they fused those elements together into heavier ones. When massive stars explode as supernovae, they disperse the heavier elements they've built into space, where they become the building blocks of the next generation of stars. Stars born after many generations have heavier elements in greater abundance than do older ones."
Cosmic phylogeny: reconstructing the chemical history of the solar neighbourhood with an evolutionary tree
"Using 17 chemical elements as a proxy for stellar DNA, we present a full phylogenetic study of stars in the solar neighbourhood. This entails applying a clustering technique that is widely used in molecular biology to construct an evolutionary tree from which three branches emerge."
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Written By: Julian Huguet