The "red rains" in Kerala five years ago was the result of the atmospheric disintegration of a comet, according to a study.

The study conducted at the School of Pure and Applied Physics of the MG University here by Dr Godfrey Louis and his student Santosh Kumar shows that red rain cells were devoid of DNA which suggests their extra-terrestrial origin.

The findings published in the international journal 'Astrophysics and Space Science' state that the cometery fragment contained dense collection of red cells.

Commenting on the study at a press conference here, Dr N Chandra Wikramesinghe, Director of Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, UK, said "what makes this study most important is the similarity of the red particles with living cells."

"If the red rain cells are finally proved to be of extra-terrestrial origin then that would be one of the most important discoveries in human history. It will change our concept about the universe and life," he added.

The red-coloured rains were reported in different parts of Kerala from July to September 2001.