Rendiconti Lincei

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 113–118

Astrochemistry and the origin of genetic material

Astrochemistry

Abstract

The formation of primordial genetic material, whatever it was, would have required the presence on early Earth of the starting organic material for the synthesis of the building blocks of the genetic molecules, the nucleotides. Recent observations indicated that the majority of the organic compounds have been introduced on Earth by the interstellar dust particles (IDPs) that are considered the principal agents in the formation of complex molecules, thanks to their peculiar surface-catalytic activities. Results obtained in the last years, in different fields, strengthen the hypothesis, originally proposed by Bernal (The Physical basis of life, 1951) of a clay-surface-mediated origin of genetic material.

Keywords

Panspermia Early genetic material Clay minerals Clay-nucleic acid complexes 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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