Basic ingredients for life discovered in the center of the Milky Way

By analyzing data collected by two Spanish telescopes, an international team of scientists has identified nitriles in the molecular cloud G + 0.693-0.027, near the center of the Milky Way. These organic molecules, constituents of RNA molecules, would flourish in the universe.

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Characterized by the presence of a cyano group – a atom of carbon associated with a triple bond to an atom ofnitrogen -, includes the nitrile family molecules essential for life. Combined with one phosphate group and to one ribose (sugar), form these molecules nucleotides constituents of the molecules ofRNA. L ‘RNA – I ‘acid ribonuclein – is present in almost all living things and performs many functions, especially in metabolism cellular.

The brick of life in the interstellar space?

In a new study, an international team of researchers analyzed spectra electromagnetically collected by two telescopes Spaniards as they observed molecular cloud G + 0.693-0.027, located near the center of the Milky Way. And their discovery is quite exciting. Among all chemical species as they have identified are certain nitriles, never discovered before. There are currently nonestar which is formed in this Cloud molecular – interstellar nebula dense enough to allow the formation ofhydrogen molecular – but researchers believe it may become a star primary school in the future. Its composition, which is similar to that of some objects in ours Solar system (just like comets) as well as some other star-forming areas in ours Galaxymakes his study relevant to understand pre-solar fog.

Abundant elements in the universe?

However, this is not the first time that such molecules have been observed ininterstellar spaceas they had been identified in 2019 in the TMC-1 molecular cloud, i The constellation of the bull. With the combination of observations made over the last few years, scientists believe that the family of nitriles is one of the most widespread in the universe. They are found in molecular clouds, in protostarscomets or even inatmosphere of Titansatellite of Saturn. Such conclusions could be in favor of the “RNA world” hypothesis, according to which RNA is the precursor of all living molecules, i.a.DNA and proteins. According to this hypothesis, the constituent bases of RNA would have arrived on Earth thanks to meteorites and comets, and would not necessarily be formed on the spot: we now know that they can be formed in interstellar space, especially in molecular clouds.

But scientists are eager to remain rational. Although this discovery is exciting, the emergence of life on Earth required various other elements, such as lipidsnecessary for the formation of cells, thus pointing to the need to focus on how they could be formed from simple precursors in interstellar space.

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