Jun 5, 2022

Scientists announce a breakthrough in determining life’s origin on Earth—and maybe Mars

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

Scientists at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution announced today that ribonucleic acid (RNA), an analog of DNA that was likely the first genetic material for life, spontaneously forms on basalt lava glass. Such glass was abundant on Earth 4.35 billion years ago. Similar basalts of this antiquity survive on Mars today.

More information:

Craig A. Jerome et al, Catalytic Synthesis of Polyribonucleic Acid on Prebiotic Rock Glasses, Astrobiology (2022). DOI: 10.1089/ast.2022.

Hyo-Joong Kim et al, Prebiotic stereoselective synthesis of purine and noncanonical pyrimidine nucleotide from nucleobases and phosphorylated carbohydrates, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.

Hyo-Joong Kim et al, A Prebiotic Synthesis of Canonical Pyrimidine and Purine Ribonucleotides, Astrobiology (2019). DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.

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