Origins of life: All four of the key DNA building blocks have been found in meteorites

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We have now discovered all four building blocks of DNA in meteorite samples, suggesting that space rocks may have delivered the compounds to Earth, contributing to the origin of life



Earth



26 April 2022

The Murchison meteorite

The Murchison meteorite, which fell in Victoria, Australia, in 1969

The Natural History Museum / Alamy

All four of the key DNA building blocks have now been found in meteorites, suggesting that space rocks may have delivered the compounds to Earth, contributing to the origin of life.

DNA has a spiral-staircase structure, in which each step consists of pairs of molecules called nucleobases. Two of these four nucleobases – adenine and guanine, which belong to a group of chemical compounds called purines – were first detected in meteorites in the 1960s.

Now, Yasuhiro Oba at Hokkaido University …



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