RNA and DNA can be formed together, as reported in natural chemistry. The origin of life on earth is a mystery. Several hypotheses compete to explain how inert molecules present on the Earth’s surface became “alive.” A conventional hypothesis suggests that RNA molecules used by cells to transmit genetic information are formed first and DNA is formed after it. A new study now challenges this view.
The two molecules are similar but not identical. DNA is a double helix, RNA is a single strand. RNA contains ribose sugar instead of deoxyribose sugar. They can communicate with each other, but researchers have struggled to transform one another without using enzymes produced by living organisms. For this reason, the “RNA World” held the hypothesis: RNA, formed through changes and increasing complexity, first formed and eventually led to DNA.
However, Researchers have now found a number of chemically-reactive steps to convert some potential precursor molecules of RNA into possible precursor molecules of DNA.
Dr. Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, said in a statement, “These new findings prove that it would not be reasonable for chemists to be so driven by the RNA World hypothesis to investigate the origins of life on Earth.”
RNA is simpler and more versatile than DNA. Many microbes use it to encode their genetic information and all organisms use it to produce proteins and transmit instructions encoded in more stable DNA. The team suspects that if two molecules grew together, they might end up in our tough role today. Krishnamurthy added, “There was a realization in the field that RNA and DNA could initially be mixed together, but then they became different according to the best work.”
Their study is based on a compound known as thiouridine, which can be converted into two molecules that precede the initial DNA building block. While the study is certainly not the last word in the RNA World Guess, it is likely that more people are likely to think about other situations that are possible.