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Molecules In Interstellar Ice --"Triggered the Formation of DNA on Earth"

15 Sep 2017, 14:31 UTC
Molecules In Interstellar Ice --"Triggered the Formation of DNA on Earth"
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"The origin of important biological molecules is one of the key fundamental questions in science," said Dr Paul Clarke, from the University of York's Department of Chemistry. "The molecules that form the building blocks of DNA had to come from somewhere; either they were present on Earth when it formed or they came from space, hitting earth in a meteor shower. Scientists had already shown that there were particular molecules present in space that came to Earth in an ice comet; this made our team at York think about investigating whether they could be used to make one of the building blocks of DNA. If this was possible, then it could mean that a building block of DNA was present before amino acids."
Researchers at the University of York have shown that molecules brought to earth in meteorite strikes could potentially be converted into the building blocks of DNA. They found that organic compounds, called amino nitriles, the molecular precursors to amino acids, were able to use molecules present in interstellar ice to trigger the formation of the backbone molecule, 2-deoxy-D-ribose, of DNA. It has long been assumed that amino acids were present on earth before DNA, and may have ...

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