Divergent Prebiotic Synthesis of Pyrimidine and 8-Oxo-purine Ribonucleotides

Matthew Powner reports the prebiotic synthesis of pyrimidine and 8-oxo-purine ribonucleotides.

According to Dr. Matthew Powner from University College London (UK), a central issue for origins of life research is to elucidate the roots of biochemical information transfer, which underpins Darwinian evolution, inheritance, replication, and genetically encoded catalysis in life. He believes that RNA is the leading candidate for the first biopolymer of life, due to its dual biological role in information transfer and catalysis, as well as the deep-seated evolutionary history of non-coding RNAs (for example, 16S and 23S ribosomal genes, tRNA genes and nucleotide binding domains are amongst the most conserved genomic regions in both microbial and non-microbial taxa). Dr. Powner said that “although prebiotic nucleotide synthesis has been investigated for more than 50 years, an adequate solution to this problem remains elusive. Recently, remarkable progress has been made towards this challenge, but to date all syntheses have only accounted separately for pyrimidine or purine nucleotides.”

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