1. Key Early Steps for Origin of Life Occur Under a Variety of Conditions

    Scientists conducted a series of test meant to capture complex chemical mixtures like those that lightning strikes may have created before life on Earth. The resulting chemistry may reveal an important step toward the origin of life. Image: Pixabay / AbelEscobar Image credit: None
    Scientists conducted a series of test meant to capture complex chemical mixtures like those that lightning strikes may have created before life on Earth. The resulting chemistry may reveal an important step toward the origin of life. Image: Pixabay / AbelEscobar

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Potential precursors to life on Earth form from a variety of complex mixtures, according to a team of scientists who say this could point to the development of building blocks crucial to forming genetic molecules for the origins of life on Earth.

    Genetic molecules provide the ability to store and replicate information and may have been critical for the origin of life, but it is unclear how they arose from complex chemical environments that existed on early Earth. New findings, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest the answer may start with nitrogen heterocycles, ringed molecules believed to be common on young Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. Several types of heterocycles serve as nucleobases, or subunits, of DNA and RNA, the genetic molecules used by life as we know it.

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    Source: [PENN State News]