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Extraterrestrial nucleobases in the Murchison meteorite

Martins, Zita; Botta, Oliver; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Sephton, Mark A.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Watson, Jonathan S.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Schwartz, Alan W. and Ehrenfreund, Pascale (2008). Extraterrestrial nucleobases in the Murchison meteorite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 270(1-2) pp. 130–136.

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Carbon-rich meteorites, carbonaceous chondrites, contain many biologically relevant organic molecules and delivered prebiotic material to the young Earth. We present compound-specific carbon isotope data indicating that measured purine and pyrimidine compounds are indigenous components of the Murchison meteorite. Carbon isotope ratios for uracil and xanthine of δ13C=+44.5‰ and +37.7‰, respectively, indicate a non-terrestrial origin for these compounds. These new results demonstrate that organic compounds, which are components of the genetic code in modern biochemistry, were already present in the early solar system and may have played a key role in life's origin.

Item Type: Article
ISSN: 0012-821X
Keywords: nucleobases; Murchison; meteorite; carbon isotope; origin of life; extraterrestrial organic molecules
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 10726
Depositing User: Jonathan Watson
Date Deposited: 21 May 2008
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 10:09
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