Prebiotic Soup

Prebiotic Soup

Author: Aileen Mitchell

A can of prebiotic soup for an improved “product” – thanks to the addition of UV photons – is shown on the latest cover picture of ChemBioChem:

Nicholas V. Hud, Thomas M. Orlando and co-workers, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, demonstrate that model prebiotic reactions with formamide as a source material produce a greater yield and diversity of purine nucleobases when formamide is irradiated with UV photons during heating, in the presence and absence of inorganic catalysts.

Guanine is also observed for the first time in model prebiotic formamide reactions, as emphasized by the pasta shape in the picture. The observation that purine nucleobases are still formed in UV-irradiated/heated formamide solutions in the absence of inorganic catalysts (i.e., with “100 % less salt”) further relaxes the requirements for obtaining nucleobases on the prebiotic Earth.

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