Basic elements of life detected at the center of the Milky Way

Analyzing data collected by two Spanish telescopes, an international team of researchers detected nitrile in the molecular cloud G+0.693-0.027 near the center of the Milky Way. These biomolecules, the components of RNA molecules, are abundant in the universe.

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Characterized by the presence of a cyano group – a the atom of carbon attached to an atom by a triple bondNitrogen -, belongs to the nitrile family molecule important for life. Combined with a phosphate group And to one ribose (sugar), form these molecules Nucleotide Its molecular componentsRNA. l’RNA – I’macid ribonucleic – present in almost all living things and perform many functions, esp Metabolism cells are prominent.

Bricks of life in interstellar space?

In a new study, an international team of researchers analyzed the spectrum Collected electromagnetic by two telescope Spanish, when they observed molecular cloud G+0.693-0.027, located near the center of the Milky Way. And their discovery is rather exciting. among all chemical species They identified certain nitriles, never discovered before. Not currentlythe star which form in this the cloud Molecular – Dense enough to allow interstellar nebulae to formHydrogen molecular – but scientists believe it could become a star nursery in the future. Its structure, which seems similar to some of our objects solar system (like comet) as well as some of our other star-forming regions galaxyMakes its study relevant for understanding The pre-solar nebula.

Is there plenty of matter in the universe?

However, this is not the first time that such molecules have been observedinterstellar spaceSince they were detected in the TMC-1 molecular cloud in 2019 Taurus. Thus, combined with observations made over the past few years, scientists believe that the nitrile family is one of the most abundant in the universe. They are found in molecular clouds Proto-starComets, or even inthe atmosphere of the titanits satellite Sat. Such a conclusion may favor the “RNA world” hypothesis, according to which RNA is the precursor of all living molecules, includingDNA And protein. According to this hypothesis, the components of RNA arrived on Earth thanks to bases the meteor and comets, and will not necessarily form in situ: we now know that they can form in interstellar space, especially in molecular clouds.

But scientists are keen to remain rational. Although this discovery is exciting, the presence of life on Earth required various other elements, viz lipidsnecessary for cell formation, thus pointing to the need to focus on how they can form from common precursors in interstellar space.

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