Researchers have identified all five of the chemical components needed to make DNA and RNA within three meteorites found in different parts of the world, suggesting that these interstellar objects may have brought to Earth the ingredients needed for the advent of life, CBC reports. In the study, which appears in Nature Communications, the scientists used cutting-edge analytical technologies to search for different nucleobases in the carbon-rich meteorites. In addition to guanine, uracil, and adenine, which have previously been found in meteorites, they also identified cytosine and thymine.
Despite the discovery, life required more than these five nucleobases to arise on Earth. As such, "the present results may not directly elucidate the origin of life on the Earth," Hokkaido University scientist Yasuhiro Oba, lead author of the study, told CBC. "But I believe that they can improve our understanding of the inventory of organic molecules on the early Earth before the onset of life."