Innova Pulse

Science, Technology and Society Strategic Innovation Review

RSS Icon

Life basis came from sources beyond the Earth

Published by under Bio-Sciences,News categories on June 30, 2008

Murchinson meteoriteScientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin. The scientists, from Europe and the USA, say that their research, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, provides evidence that life’s raw materials came from sources beyond the Earth.

The materials they have found include the molecules uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, and are known as nucleobases. The team discovered the molecules in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969. They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth. The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.

Lead author Dr Zita Martins, of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says that the research may provide another piece of evidence explaining the evolution of early life. She says: “We believe early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.”

Between 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago large numbers of rocks similar to the Murchison meteorite rained down on Earth at the time when primitive life was forming. The heavy bombardment would have dropped large amounts of meteorite material to the surface on planets like Earth and Mars.

Co-author Professor Mark Sephton, also of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, believes this research is an important step in understanding how early life might have evolved. He added: “Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life — including nucleobases — could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life’s raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely.”


Comments

  1. carlos r. jacks says on January 26th, 2010 at 19:44

    Dear Sir

    probably you know about another theory of origin of life in the universe from Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon

    carlos

  2. Ian says on February 15th, 2010 at 08:01

    It seems that on other planets, the concentration of organic PAH molecules can provide valuable insight into environmental conditions and the potential for extraterrestrial life. In this sense our post “New development powerfully enhances the search of extraterrestrial life” explains the remote life detection based on chirality.

    Speculation appears ongoing on extraterrestrial origin of PAH

  3. Vieira says on June 3rd, 2010 at 02:46

    I’m curious about this. How is the heavy form of carbon found out in the nucleobases? Is an Isotope? What is its mass number? Is it possible this heavy form to be found in the solar system again or beyond by a satellite or any other device? These nucleobases are possible to be found in present nucleobases? I mean the molecules they form? How could these nucleobases to react in order to form a new one and to make part of life on Earth? Is possible that life on Mars have evoluted the same way that on Earth? This heavy variety of carbon has been found on Mars too? These nucleobases came from another kind of lives that existed on collapsed planets? I’l be glad if any response could be given.

  4. ben says on July 19th, 2010 at 16:37

    yes sure. there are numerous things with gaps to fully explain. evolution alone can not produce the things that are existing today. the universe including earth is the design of a supernatural creator.

  5. Ian says on December 2nd, 2010 at 08:34

    From our reader Ilham:
    dear sir,
    im a medical student of eastern university,srilanka. i heard about this theory already.there was a scientist author c.clark already mention this topic and also here university of peradeniya prof. srill ponnamperumaal also interested this research. so, if u want to get morte details about vthis contact srilankan universities.

  6. Ian says on December 2nd, 2010 at 08:36

    Dear Ilham further comments from Universities are very welcome.

Add your comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.




Design by NET-TEC and Webkatalog, with Ratenkredit, Hochzeit