An international team has found sugars essential to life in meteorites. The new discovery adds to the growing list of biologically important compounds that have been found in meteorites, supporting the hypothesis that chemical reactions in asteroids — the parent bodies of many meteorites — can make some of life’s ingredients. If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth may have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life’s building blocks. The team discovered ribose and other bio-essential sugars including arabinose and xylose in two different meteorites that are rich in carbon, NWA 801 (type CR2) and Murchison (type CM2). Ribose is a crucial component of RNA (ribonucleic acid). In much of modern life, RNA serves as a messenger molecule, copying genetic instructions from the DNA molecule (deoxyribonucleic acid) and delivering them to molecular factories within the cell called ribosomes that read the RNA to build specific proteins needed to carry out life processes.
Source: First detection of sugars in meteorites may give clues to origin of life