Scientists have reported a theoretical and experimental characterization of DHPT (N(1)‐(2′,3′‐dihydroxypropil)thymine). DHPT is a potential prebiotic nucleoside analogue for the molecule 5-methyluridine. Nucleosides are a structural component of DNA and RNA. They are similar to nucleotides in that they are built from a nitrogenous base attached to a sugar (ribose or deoxyribose), but they do not contain a phosphate group. In cells, nucleosides can be phosphorylated to produce nucleotides, which are the informational components of RNA and DNA.

The study, “Theoretical and experimental evidence of conformational transformation in stereoisomers of nucleoside analogues,” was published in the journal Quantum Chemistry. The work was performed at the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. The CCE is a collaborative program supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NASA Astrobiology Program.