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Russian, Italian scientists reproduce processes similar to autogenesis in space

February 19, 2014, 21:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian and Italian scientists working at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Moscow region, have reproduced processes similar to autogenesis in outer space.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, February 19, by Yevgeny Krasavin, director of the JINR Laboratory of Radiation Biology, and Prof. Ernesto Di Mauro of Sapienza University in Rome.

The researchers assumed that since all living beings were made of proteins and nucleic acids, these substances could have formed not on planets but on asteroids and meteorites, which were more suitable for that.

Space is filled with formamide, a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen that were spewed out into the universe after the Big Bang. Cosmic rays affected formamide on the surface of meteorites and spurred processes that researchers call prebiological synthesis in outer space. Scientists say that this may create proteins and nucleic acids.

These processes were reproduced at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research but at a much faster speed. “We simulate a time period that lasts millions or billions of years in space. I think it is very important that the Big Bang created the conditions that must have generated ‘information macromolecules’, which could lead to further evolutionary processes on planets and emergence of life on them,” the scientists said.

When asked if they had succeeded in turning inanimate matter into living matter, Krasavin said it was not possible yet. “We need more time,” he added.

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