Navigation Links
Scientists confirm that parts of earliest genetic material may have come from the stars
Date:6/13/2008

Scientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin, in a paper published on 15 June 2008.

The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars.

The scientists, from Europe and the USA, say that their research, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, provides evidence that life's raw materials came from sources beyond the Earth.

The materials they have found include the molecules uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, and are known as nucleobases.

The team discovered the molecules in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969.

They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth.

The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.

Lead author Dr Zita Martins, of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says that the research may provide another piece of evidence explaining the evolution of early life. She says:

"We believe early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations."

Between 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago large numbers of rocks similar to the Murchison meteorite rained down on Earth at the time when primitive life was forming. The heavy bombardment would have dropped large amounts of meteorite material to the surface on planets like Earth and Mars.

Co-author Professor Mark Sephton, also of Imperial's Department of Earth Science and Engineering, believes this research is an important step in understanding how early life might have evolved. He added:

"Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life -- including nucleobases -- could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life's raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely."


'/>"/>

Contact: Colin Smith
cd.smtih@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46712
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists find 245 million-year-old burrows of land vertebrates in Antarctica
2. Brain stem cells can be awakened, say Schepens scientists
3. Scientists demonstrate feasibility of preventing malaria parasite from becoming sexually mature
4. New fingerprint breakthrough by forensic scientists
5. Young mineral scientists rock!
6. Scientists discover stinging truths about jellyfish blooms in the Bering Sea
7. Scientists find bacteria thriving on a feast of seafloor rock
8. Leiden scientists sequence first female DNA
9. Scientists announce top 10 new species, issue SOS
10. U-M scientists remove thousands of aspens to glimpse forests future
11. Scientists reveal the lifestyle evolution of wild marine bacteria
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) ... (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric ... will run until May 2016. --> the ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced the ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication platform. ... and InfoSec managers to step-up security where it,s ... Washington, DC . ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... , March 3, 2016  2016FLEX, organized ... this week highlighting advancements in flexible, hybrid and ... record setting attendance - have gathered for short ... fast-growing field of electronics. The Flex Conference celebrates ... point for companies, R&D organizations, and universities contributing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... A compact ... Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party MRI systems. PET ... treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a solution to many ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds ... specific focus on US, EU, China ... to the healthcare business intelligence collection of its ... Complete report on the Flow Cytometry market spread ... with 282 tables and figures is now available ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... Heidelberg ... the latest technology innovation for its Volume Pattern Generator (VPG) line of lithography ... of advanced photomasks as well as a solution for mid volume direct write ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... ... a significant operating grant from 1Plus12 Corporation. The grant will be used to ... as outlined on the organization's website http://www.ivsci.org , In accounting the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: