Carbonaceous meteorites as a source of sugar-related organic compounds for the early Earth

TitleCarbonaceous meteorites as a source of sugar-related organic compounds for the early Earth
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsCooper, George, Kimmich Novelle, Belisle Warren, Sarinana Josh, Brabham Katrina, and Garrel Laurence
JournalNature
Volume414
Issue6866
Pagination879 - 883
Date Published12/2001
ISSN0028-0836
DOI10.1038/414879a
Short TitleNature
Citation Key166
Full Text

At least one sugar and a variety of sugar derivatives (polyols) have been found in the Murray and Murchison carbonaceous meteorites. The idea that extraterrestrial material may have played a role the origin of life on Earth stems in large part from the previous discovery of amino acids in these meteorites, and the presence of polyols adds weight to the argument. The sugar has been identified as dihydroxyacetone, which can readily yield higher sugars including ribose (as in an 'RNA world') in aqueous solution with minerals, and the polyols include glycerol, a constituent of all cell membranes.

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