Feb 23, 2024

Compound vital for all life likely played a role in life’s origin, suggests synthesis study

Posted by in category: chemistry

A chemical compound essential to all living things has been synthesized in a lab in conditions that could have occurred on early Earth, suggesting it played a role at the outset of life, finds a new study led by University College London researchers.

The compound, pantetheine, is the active fragment of Coenzyme A. It is important for metabolism—the chemical processes that maintain life. Earlier studies failed to synthesize pantetheine effectively, leading to suggestions that it was absent at life’s origin.

In the new study, published in the journal Science, the research team created the compound in water at room temperature using molecules formed from hydrogen cyanide, which was likely abundant on early Earth.

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