Life’s building blocks grow close to home

Life’s building blocks grow close to home

Chemical reactions in the early solar system create complex organic molecules

By Nadia Drake, 13:54 PM March 29, 2012

Though life is a complicated brew, some of its ingredients can be plucked from Earth’s backyard instead of being imported from more distant interstellar fields.

In a new study, scientists suggest that complex organic molecules — such as the amino acids that build proteins and the ringed bases that form nucleic acids — grow on the icy dust grains that lived in the infant solar system. All it takes are high-energy ultraviolet photons to provoke the rearrangement of chemical elements in the g...

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