Research Article

Unified prebiotically plausible synthesis of pyrimidine and purine RNA ribonucleotides

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Science  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 76-82
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax2747

Conditions right for making nucleosides

In the absence of biological catalysts and metabolism, can atmospheric and geochemical processes provide the substrates and conditions required for production of biological molecules? Becker et al. devised an abiotic synthetic scheme that allows for accumulation of both purine and pyrimidine nucleoside mono- and diphosphates (see the Perspective by Hud and Fialho). A key starting material for this chemistry, hydroxylamine and/or hydroxylamine disulfonate, can form under plausible early atmospheric conditions. Cycles between wet and dry conditions provide the environments necessary to complete formation of purine and pyrimidine bases essentially in one pot.

Science, this issue p. 76; see also p. 32

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