SAMARA, November 14 Astrophysicists from Korolev Samara University, together with American colleagues, have theoretically and experimentally proven the possibility of organic substances appearing in space, which fell to Earth along with meteorites and created conditions for the development of life, the press service reported Samara university.
Astrophysicists believe, early forms of life must have contained biomolecules in the form of RNA and amino acids. Metal ions play a key role in stabilizing and copying RNA. Modern cells use special proteins to transport ions across membranes, but they are too large and complex and could hardly have existed at the time of the first protocells. According to scientists, ions could be transported in ancient cells with the help of chelating agents that arose in interstellar ice in space and fell along with meteorites to Earth.
“The scientific significance of our research is that for the first time in the world, organic chelating agents were obtained in analogues of interstellar ice. <…> According to many scientists, chelating agents were essential for the existence and development of the first biological protocells. These substances promote the transfer of metal ions through the cell membrane, and thus they could participate in the catalysis of RNA replication, that is, in the copying of RNA data and the division of ancient protocells,” said one of the authors of the study, Associate Professor of the Department of Physics at Samara University Ivan Antonov.
The university clarified that the theoretical part of the study was carried out at Samara University, and the experimental part – at the University of Hawaii in the USA. Antonov noted that calculations and experiments showed a plausible mechanism for the formation of complex organic matter inside interstellar ice in deep space.
“This fundamentally expands knowledge about the achievable level of molecular complexity of organic molecules in space,” the specialist emphasized.
In everyday life, people almost daily encounter chelating agents – they are used in various detergents, washing powder, shampoos, cosmetics, as well as in the restoration of archaeological finds, as they easily remove rust.
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