Origin of Life on Earth – Sugar Found in Meteorites Might Shed More Light

Recently, a team of international scientists realized a mission of meteorite mining. They found that the analyzed space objects contain sugar. Such a fact indicates that the chemical reactions in asteroids can develop some intriguing elements. If scientists succeed in proving that thing, it could bring light to the origin of life on Earth.

Billions of years ago, a meteorite dropped on our planet and aided the evolution of life. Such a theory, however, need a piece of substantial evidence. According to Yoshihiro Furukawa of Tohoku University Japan, “other essential building blocks of life have been found in meteorites previously, including amino acids (components of proteins) and nucleobases (parts of DNA and RNA).

The discovery of sugar, though, is something that was missing — scientists identified in two different meteorites (NWA 801 and Murchison) ribose, xylose, and arabinose.

Sugar found in meteorites might shed more light on the origin of life on Earth

Those elements are known to be significantly rich in carbon. Furukawa explained that ribose might have an essential role in the formation of RNA in the prehistoric period, pointing to the origin of life.

But why is ribose considered so important? The element is subsequently a vital part of our RNA. Ribose, in other words, serves as a carrier molecule that casts genetic information from our DNA molecule. Ultimately, the element transports the data to the production factories within the cells. RNA is essential in developing specific proteins to carry life processes.

Co-author of the research study at NASA’s Goddard, Danny Glavin, explained the importance of extraterrestrial sugar and how much this could prove old and new things, too. He said: “This is important since there could have been a delivery bias of extraterrestrial ribose to the early Earth, which is consistent with the hypothesis that RNA evolved first.”

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