RNA-based building materials for life have been detected at the center of our galaxy
Scientists have discovered organic compounds necessary for the production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) with biological function in the molecular cloud at the center of our galaxy.
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These are nitriles, which are the “building blocks” of these molecules, and their discovery in the Milky Way allows us to understand more about the origins of life.
A new study reveals that chemical processes in interstellar space can form many nitriles, supporting the hypothesis that life on Earth originated from RNA.
One of the main questions of such a scenario is the question of the emergence of prebiotic molecules. Were they originally on our planet, or did they get here through asteroids and meteorites?
We know that similar compounds are found in such astronomical bodies. And the latter, most likely, was obtained from the molecular cloud in which each of them arose.
It was such a cloud that gave birth to the solar system, and there are many similar ones in the center of our galaxy. One of them is known as G+0.693-0.027. Scientists believe that stars will form there in the future because the chemical composition is very similar to other such regions.
With the help of two telescopes, specialists studied the spectral traces of various compounds in G+0.693-0.027 and traced a large number of nitriles, such as cyanic acid, cyanoallene, propargyl cyanide, cyanopropyne and others. This indicates that the Milky Way is rich in nitriles. For more clarity, they would also be in the cloud producing our or other systems.
Of course, there are still many things to be discovered in this regard, in particular, other molecules, which play a big role, need to be discovered. These are, for example, lipids. Still, the new findings are an important step forward.
The authors’ work was published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences.