Astrobiologists have shown that the formation of RNA from prebiotic reactions may not be as problematic as scientists once thought.

One hypotheses for the origin of life on Earth includes a period known as the ‘RNA World.’ In this proposed scenario, ribonucleic acid (RNA) formed from non-biological reactions, and then became incorporated into life’s first cells.

The study presents a proof-of-concept system that could overcome previously sited challenges to the RNA World hypothesis, and was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NASA Astrobiology Program under the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution.