Study builds on plausible scenario for origin of life on Earth

Aug 09, 2011

A relatively simple combination of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids offers a plausible route to the building blocks of life, according to a paper published in Nature Chemistry co-authored by a professor at the University of California, Merced.

The study, "A Route to Enantiopure RNA Precursors from Nearly Racemic Starting Materials," shows how the precursors to RNA could have formed on Earth before any life existed. It was authored by Jason E. Hein, Eric Tse and Donna G. Blackmond, a team of researchers with the Scripps Research Institute. Hein is now a chemistry professor with UC Merced. The paper was published online Sunday.

, such as RNA and proteins, can exist in either a natural or unnatural form, called enantiomers. By studying the chemical reactions carefully, the research team found that it was possible to generate only the natural form of the necessary RNA precursors by including simple .

"These amino acids changed how the reactions work and allowed only the naturally occurring RNA precursors to be generated in a stable form," said Hein. "In the end, we showed that an amazingly simple result emerged from some very complex and interconnected chemistry."

The natural enantiomer of the RNA precursor molecules formed a visible to the naked eye. The crystals are stable and avoid normal chemical breakdown. They can exist until the conditions are right for them to change into .

Explore further: Chemists modify antibiotic to vanquish resistant bacteria

More information: DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.110

Provided by University of California - Merced

5 /5 (15 votes)

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User comments : 11

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KillerKopy
1 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2011
Finally, case closed, the argument is over!! Crystals made the universe.
BradynStanaway
4.2 / 5 (6) Aug 09, 2011
inb4 creo-tards
Osiris1
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 09, 2011
So...they are saying that life can be verrrrry common in our universe, and may be in fact the ordinary..or mundane normal expected resident of most any body in space or in or on most bodies. There they self form out of literally nothing, and wait until conditions are right to progress to the next step.
Sports fans...WE ARE NOT ALONE!!
Deesky
3.7 / 5 (11) Aug 09, 2011
So...they are saying that life can be verrrrry common in our universe

That wasn't stated.

and may be in fact the ordinary..or mundane normal expected resident of most any body in space or in or on most bodies.

That wasn't stated.

There they self form out of literally nothing

That wasn't stated.

Sports fans...WE ARE NOT ALONE!!

Jump to conclusions much?

However, it is an interesting finding and I hope further research is undertaken in this area.
PetrI
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011
Correct DOI of the study: 10.1038/nchem.1108
bluehigh
1.5 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2011
@Deesky

However, it is an interesting finding and I hope further research is undertaken in this area.


Exactly what was interesting and what further research do you hope for? Or is this again another of your negative criticisms of others while having no worthwhile contribution yourself?

Deesky
3.5 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2011
Exactly what was interesting and what further research do you hope for? Or is this again another of your negative criticisms of others while having no worthwhile contribution yourself?

You just can't help being an ass, can you?
bluehigh
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 10, 2011
Showing your communication skills again? Try hard and you might move beyond "No" "Wrong" "Did you read the article" and now ... "that wasn't stated".
tommytalks77
3 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2011
@bluehigh

or should I call you "osiris1",lol ... Erm, how old are you anyway?

"that wasn't stated" seems very appropriated comment regarding "osiris1" hasty conclusions about this article...

Me thinks someone has a grudge because they got , rightfully, criticized... \o/
bluehigh
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2011
@tommytalks

Not sure why you would want to call me osiris1 or what my age has to do with you!

I beg to differ regarding Deesky simply being negatively critical without any backup argument. An opportunity exists in these comments for reasoned discourse and "that wasn't stated" is neither constructive or helpful. Besides Osiris1 comment was amusing and this place could do with a bit of levity.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2011
Comments can exist in a natural or unnatural form called enantiomers.

By studying the chemical reactions(language as the intermediary) carefully, the research team found that it was possible to generate only the natural form of necessary discourse by including simple reasoning.

The article needed editing. To accommodate pending and future commentary.