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The quest for sugars involved in origin of life
Date:2/16/2012

onal Edition, was announced on the front cover of the April issue of the scientific journal and also highlighted in the on-line version. This publication has an impact factor of 12.730, making it the most important in the field of Chemistry.

Participating in the research, led by Mr Cocinero, was Ms Patricia cija, Mr Francisco Jos Basterretxea, Mr Jos Andrs Fernndez and Mr Fernando Castao, from the UPV/EHU, with the collaboration of Mr Alberto Lesarri from the University of Valladolid and of Jens-Uwe Grabow, from the University of Hannover (Germany), being undertaken in its totality with the team formed at the Basque university.

In concrete, in order to observe the ribose in gas phase, microwave spectroscopy was used combined with ultra-rapid laser vaporisation with ultraviolet light. Not only was it isolated and observed, but six different structures of the ribose were detected. "Sugars are super flexible molecules that can take on many different configurations. We have managed to detect the six most stable structures of the free ribose", explained the lead researcher. However, all the structures detected show rings of six members, i.e. the structures involved are very different from those shown in RNA or ADNA ribose or its derivatives, where the rings are five-membered. "Given that the genetic material has a different configuration, it is unlikely that the first living beings had ribose. Thermal instability and the preference for 6-member rings would appear to exclude the possibility that the first genetic material was made up of this sugar", concluded Mr Cocinero. With this door opened to the study of sugars in gas phase, it will be "easier" to obtain information on the role of sugars in the origin of the first living beings.


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