Extraterrestrial Nucleobases

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 16 August 2011
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci./National Academy of Sciences
thumbnail image: Extraterrestrial Nucleobases

Determining the origin of nucleobases such as pyrimidine and purine in meteorites is challenging due to their low abundances relative to other organics and terrestrial contamination. Because of this, an extraterrestrial origin for nucleobases in meteorites has never been unequivocally established.


Michael Callahan and colleagues, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Maryland, USA, used liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry to investigate the abundance and distribution of nucleobases and their analogs in 12 different meteorite samples. They found that the Murchison and Lonewolf Nunataks 94102 meteorites contained the unusual and terrestrially rare analogs purine, 2,6-diaminopurine, and 6,8-diaminopurine. These compounds were not detected in the control samples which strongly suggest they are indigenous to the meteorites.
Thus, meteorites may have served as a molecular kit providing essential ingredients for the origin of life on Earth and possibly elsewhere.

Image: © U.S. Geological Survey


Article Views: 1920

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. more


CONNECT:

ChemistryViews.org on Facebook

ChemistryViews.org on Twitter ChemistryViews.org on YouTube ChemistryViews.org on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter


A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH