NASA astrobiologists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, a key component of RNA, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidines exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces this essential ingredient of life. The study appears in the September issue of Astrobiology.
"We have demonstrated for the first time that we can make uracil, a component of RNA, non-biologically in a laboratory under conditions found in space," said Michel Nuevo, research scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center. "We are showing that these laboratory processes, which simulate occurrences in outer space, can make a fundamental building block used by living organisms on Earth."
[Source: NAI Newsletter]