Origin of life on Earth and in the space - experiment and theory
Current application is aimed at extending the research conducted in our previous project GACR 14-12010S related to the origin of life on our planet into an extraterrestrial context. The novel model elaborated for the synthesis of nucleobases in extraterrestrial impacts reported in our PNAS feature article has opened the way towards finding analogous pathways for the emergence of life-giving molecules everywhere in the Cosmos. In the frame of the current proposal we will explore how simple organic molecules can be transformed into the precursors of nucleic acids and peptides using high-energy initiators and a highly exergonic radical chemistry. Further, we will continue our ongoing studies related to the self-assembling and polymerization of nucleic acid building blocks leading to the first functional oligonucleotides. These processes bring us closer to the great question of mankind, whether there is life in the Universe and in particular, what is the origin of biomolecules and their fragments found in extraterrestrial materials delivered to the Earth by impact activities.