The building blocks of DNA, and therefore life, can come from the heart of the interstellar gas cloud.
A simulation ran in an ultra-cold vacuum at the Japanese Hokkaido University and found that nucleosomes can be made in space.
These compounds form one of the three parts of a nucleotide – a single piece of DNA – and can help shed light on how life on earth evolved.
Previous theories suggest that a space rock traveled to Earth and brought with it the basic materials for life, and from there the vast array of nature that we see today evolved.
More complex compounds were also found, including amino acids, which subsequently form proteins.
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Japanese researchers analyzed the simulated environment in an ultra-high vacuum reaction chamber (photo). A gaseous mixture of water, carbon monoxide, ammonia and methanol was introduced into a material designed to mimic cosmic dust at -263 ° C
& # 39; Our findings suggest that the processes we reproduce can lead to the formation of molecular precursors of life & # 39 ;, says Yasuhiro Oba of the Institute of Low Temperature Sciences at Hokkaido University.
& # 39; The results can improve our understanding of the early stages of chemical evolution in space. & # 39;
Fundamental organic molecules have previously been found in various comets, asteroids and gas clouds.
And some scientists have linked this to the origin of life on our planet about four billion years ago.
DNA and RNA are an integral part of all forms of life, from humans to bacteria, and they are a puzzle of three separate pieces linked together – a phosphate group, a sugar, and a nucleosome.
RNA is less known than DNA, but is very similar, but does not have the iconic double helix structure.
The most important role is to help read and interpret DNA, so that the information stored in it can be used by the body.
The sugar can change and contain extra oxygen, if it lacks oxygen at the second carbon atom, it is said that it is low in oxygen and therefore produces DNA.
When oxygen bound to this specific atom is found, it creates RNA.
The simple change of the single atom changes the entire structure of the genetic material, but the nucleosome is an integral part of the whole.
Previous studies have simulated the conditions in interstellar molecular clouds and found sugar and phosphate, but no nucleobases.
This latest study, published in Nature communication, this changes.
& # 39; This result may be the key to unraveling fundamental questions for humanity, such as what organic connections existed during the formation of the solar system and how they contributed to the birth of life on Earth & # 39 ;, says Oba.
Japanese researchers came together to analyze the simulated environment in an ultra-high vacuum reaction chamber.
Compounds for life form one of the three parts of a nucleotide – a single piece of DNA – and can help shed light on how life on earth evolved. Previous theories suggest that a space rock traveled to Earth and brought with it the basic materials for life, and from there the vast array of nature that we see today evolved (stock)
A gaseous mixture of water, carbon monoxide, ammonia and methanol was introduced into a material designed to simulate cosmic dust at -263 ° C.
At almost absolute zero, this was essential for modeling the interaction between molecules and compounds in the ice-cold abyss of space.
Two deuterium lamps, an isotope of hydrogen, were attached to the vacuum chamber and provided ultraviolet light to trigger the reactions.
An icy film was made in the ultra-cold room without oxygen and analysis of what this was made revealed the nucleosomes.
Cytosine, thymine, adenine were all found in the material present in conventional DNA.
Lesser known compounds such as uracil, xanthine and hypoxanthine were also present.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DNA AND RNA?
DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid – is generally known as the molecule in the core of all our cells that contains genetic information.
It is in the form of a double helix and consists of small sections called nucleotides.
Each nucleotide contains a nucleobase, a sugar and a phosphate group.
The sugar component in this specific molecule is called deoxyribose and forms the D in DNA.
This is a cyclic carbon-based chemical with five carbon atoms arranged as a pentagon.
At the second carbon atom there is a confirmed single hydrogen atom in deoxyribose.
This can also contain an extra oxygen.
In this case, the oxygenated chemical then simply forms ribose – the R in RNA.
The deoxy prefix literally means without oxygen.
Form of RNA and DNA
RIBose can do almost everything that deoxyribose can do and also codes for genetic information in some cells and organisms.
When the oxygen is present, it drastically changes how the chemicals bind and sit next to other molecules.
When oxygen is present – in RNA – it can take various forms.
When oxygen is not present at this specific location – in DNA – the molecule forms the iconic double helix.
Use of RNA
DNA is often split into RNA and read by the cells to translate and transcribe the genetic code to make proteins and other molecules essential for life.
RNA uses three of the same base pairs as DNA: Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine.
The other base pair, Thymine, is replaced by RNA for Uracil.
RNA is also often found in simpler organisms, such as bacteria.
It is often also a virus, with hepatitis, flu and HIV all forms of RNA.
All animal cells use DNA, with one notable exception: the mitochondria.
Mitochondrian are the powerhouses of the cell and turn glucose into pyruvate and then into Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) via the Krebs cycle.
This process all happens in this one organelle in the cells and ATP is the universal form of energy and is used in every aerobic organism.
There is a small RNA strand in the mitochondria that is unique in the animal kingdom.
It is only passed on from the mother (the father's life in the sperm but is dissolved during conception) and allows people to find their mother line in the course of time.
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