Seminar: Dr Albert Fahrenbach - Radiolytic Synthesis of RNA Precursors

Friday, 23 March 2018 - 11:00am – Friday, 23 March 2018 - 12:00pm  |  Ainsworth 202

Speaker: Dr Albert Fahrenbach

The RNA world hypothesis has long been challenged by the difficulties associated with prebiotic synthesis of the canonical A/U/G/C ribonucleotides. Using the synthetic pathway of the pyrimidine ribonucleotides C and U reported by Sutherland and coworkers in 2009 as a blueprint, it is demonstrated that gamma-radiolysis of dilute solutions of hydrogen cyanide leads to a reaction network that produces many of the key intermediates in that pathway. Imidazole derivatives were also found among the radiolytic products – a class of compounds crucial for enabling efficient template-directed synthesis of RNA oligomers. Mechanistic details of this radiolytically driven reaction network and its potential relevance to Hadean geochemistry will be discussed.