Scientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin, in a paper published on 15 June 2008.
The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars.
The scientists, from Europe and the USA, say that their research, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, provides evidence that life’s raw materials came from sources beyond the Earth.
The materials they have found include the molecules uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, and are known as nucleobases.
The team discovered the molecules in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969.
(via Warren Ellis)