Simple organics and biomonomers identified in HCN polymers: An overview

M. Ruiz-Bermejo* (Corresponding Author), M.-P. Zorzano, S. Osuna-Esteban

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a ubiquitous molecule in the Universe. It is a compound that is easily produced in significant yields in prebiotic simulation experiments using a reducing atmosphere. HCN can spontaneously polymerise under a wide set of experimental conditions. It has even been proposed that HCN polymers could be present in objects such as asteroids, moons, planets and, in particular, comets. Moreover, it has been suggested that these polymers could play an important role in the origin of life. In this review, the simple organics and biomonomers that have been detected in HCN polymers, the analytical techniques and procedures that have been used to detect and characterise these molecules and an exhaustive classification of the experimental/environmental conditions that favour the formation of HCN polymers are summarised. Nucleobases, amino acids, carboxylic acids, cofactor derivatives and other compounds have been identified in HCN polymers. The great molecular diversity found in HCN polymers encourages their placement at the central core of a plausible protobiological system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-448
Number of pages28
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • HCN polymers
  • Prebiotic synthesis
  • nucleobases
  • amino acids
  • carboxylic acids
  • chromatographic techniques

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