Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Meteorite Discovery Found Closer to Earth

Meteorite Discovery Found Closer to Earth

Although the sugar in DNA was not detected in any of the meteorites, the researchers noted the presence of the "extraterrestrial sugar" that makes up RNA is important, nonetheless, with many researchers thinking it came first, only to be replaced by DNA.

In a recent PRESS released by NASA, the sugar is found to be part of the RNA molecules that deliver messages from DNA to build proteins.

Research team examining the meteor samples, as a result of the examinations revealed that two different meteor sugar molecules. If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth might have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life's building blocks.

The team has found ribose, arabinose, and xylose sugars in two different meteorites, which has now been added to an already growing list of biologically relevant compounds that have been found in space rocks.

Scientists have previously found other biomolecules in meteorites, including amino acids, which form proteins, and nucleobases, the building blocks of DNA and RNA.

"The sugar in DNA (2-deoxyribose) was not detected in any of the meteorites analyzed in this study", said Dr. Danny Glavin, also from the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Although it's possible that the sugars in the meteorites may have been contaminated by terrestrial life, the researchers believe it's unlikely.

Meteorites that crashed into Earth billions of years ago contain sugars, researchers say, lending support to the idea that asteroids may hold some of the ingredients to life.

The research team analyzed the powdered samples of the meteorites using a technique with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, which sorts and identifies molecules by the mass and electric charge. Ribose is a critical component of RNA (ribonucleic acid), and in modern life, RNA is the messenger molecule that copies genetic instructions from DNA.

"Ribose is particularly essential as a building block of RNA, which could have both stored information and catalysed reactions in primitive life on Earth", the researchers wrote in the study.

A team including Yoshihiro Furukawa, an associate professor at Tohoku University, and researchers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other organizations analyzed three kinds of meteorites, including the Murchison meteorite that fell in Australia in 1969.

"In the asteroids found other important components of life, such as amino acids and nucleic acid bases". In addition, they plan to see if the extraterrestrial sugar molecules have a left-handed or right-handed bias.

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