Chemical evolution from hydrogen cyanide: photochemical decarboxylation of orotic acid and orotate derivatives

Science  28 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4353, pp. 361-362
DOI: 10.1126/science.208152


Irradiation of solutions at pH 7 to pH 8.5 of orotic acid, orotidine, and orotidine 5'-phosphate with light at 254 nanometers yields the corresponding uracil derivative via the singlet excited state. This reaction completes a plausible prebiotic synthesis of uracil and its derivatives starting from HCN as the only carbon source.