Mars have building blocks of life as shown by the Martian rock from Antarctica

Mars (Credit: TylerCreatesWorlds/Deviantart)Main Point:

Scientists studied Martian meteorite obtained from Antarctica and found potential building block of life in it.

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Scientists have found good amount of boron in the rock. Boron is considered as the important element in the development of ribonucleic acid or RNA, which a nucleic acid that contains the sugar ribose. It is found in all living cells, and is essential for the manufacture of proteins according to the instructions carried by genes. RNA also acts instead of DNA as the genetic material in certain viruses.

“I had read how important boron could have been in the origins of life, stabilizing a part of RNA,” biologist James Stephenson, with the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Hawaii told Discovery News.

RNA is composed of phosphate, a ribose, which is a five-carbon sugar, and a nucleobase. Out of these three components, only ribose has not been found outside of earth on any meteorite.

“Of the three parts that make RNA, the ribose is the tricky part. We haven’t been able to explain how it could form naturally,” Stephenson said. Previously, researchers proposed that boron is one of the basis of ribose.

“It’s the unique size of the boron which is able to stabilize the ribose ring structure. No other element has been shown to have that effect,” Stephenson added.

“Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth’s earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration,” Scientists wrote in the paper.


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Stephenson, J., Hallis, L., Nagashima, K., & Freeland, S. (2013). Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay PLoS ONE, 8 (6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064624

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."