Prebiotic Organic Chemistry of Formamide and the Origin of Life in Planetary Conditions: What We Know and What Is the Future
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FormamidePrebiotic chemistryGeochemistryBiomorphsOrigin of life
Bizzarri, B.M.; Saladino, R.; Delfino, I.; García-Ruiz, J.M.; Di Mauro, E. Prebiotic Organic Chemistry of Formamide and the Origin of Life in Planetary Conditions: What We Know and What Is the Future. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 917. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms2202091
SponsorshipAgenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) ASI DC-VUM-2017-034 2019-3-U.0 CUP F86C16000000006; European Research Council (ERC) 340863; Spanish Government CGL2016-78971-P; Consejeria de Transformacion Economica, Industria, Conocimiento y Universidades of Junta de Andalucia PY18-5008
The goal of prebiotic chemistry is the depiction of molecular evolution events preceding the emergence of life on Earth or elsewhere in the cosmos. Plausible experimental models require geochemical scenarios and robust chemistry. Today we know that the chemical and physical conditions for life to flourish on Earth were at work much earlier than thought, i.e., earlier than 4.4 billion years ago. In recent years, a geochemical model for the first five hundred million years of the history of our planet has been devised that would work as a cradle for life. Serpentinization processes in the Hadean eon affording self-assembled structures and vesicles provides the link between the catalytic properties of the inorganic environment and the impressive chemical potential of formamide to produce complete panels of organic molecules relevant in pre-genetic and pre-metabolic processes. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, we propose basic transformations connecting geochemistry to the chemistry of formamide, and we hint at the possible extension of this perspective to other worlds.