RNA precursors found in the center of the Milky Way

Nitriles have been found in the center of our Galaxy — organic substances from which ribonucleic acids (RNA) can be formed. This proves that the components necessary for the beginning of biological evolution are widely distributed in the universe.

Gas clouds in the center of the Galaxy. Source: www.cnet.com

Nitriles are precursors of RNA

A group of scientists from Spain exploring gas clouds near the center of the Milky Way reported the discovery of nitriles there. Organic substances of this group can be toxic by themselves, but in combination with other substances they can become the basis for life.

In particular, they are precursors, that is, raw materials for the formation of ribonucleic acids or RNA. These organic polymers are known for acting in biological cells as a kind of intermediaries between DNA, where information is stored, and proteins that do all the work.

Ribonucleic acids are also a key element of the scientific picture of how organics evolved on earth before the appearance of the first cell. This is the so-called RNA theory of the world. It says that some complex molecules are able to evolve as living organisms.

Organic matter in gas clouds

The center of the Milky Way is known as one of the largest star formation zones. There are many molecular clouds here, in which researchers continue to find more and more complex organic molecules. For example, alcohols that are part of terrestrial disinfectants have recently been found there.

This time, the attention of scientists was attracted by the cloud G+0.693-0.027. No signs of star formation have yet been revealed in it, but researchers are confident that new stars will be born in it sometime. And that’s where they found the nitriles. And to do this, they needed two powerful telescopes with spectrographs mounted on them.

Cyanic acid, cyanoallene, propargyl cyanide and other substances were identified. Under certain conditions, after a series of reactions, they can form nucleic triphosphates together with phosphorus-containing compounds. And already RNAs can be formed from them in a fairly simple way.

You can read more about the study in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences. The scientists who published it say that they have actually proved that nitriles are found almost everywhere in the Milky Way. However, they can form RNA only together with other organic substances — lipids.

And scientists have practically not seen this organic matter in molecular clouds yet. So, it is quite possible that future research will be focused on its search. For if these molecules are indeed present in the interstellar medium, then it is quite possible that RNA exists almost everywhere where there are conditions for them. This means that life is a common phenomenon in our Galaxy.

According to www.sciencealert. com

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