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- Nucleobases are the informational subunits of DNA and RNA. They consist of Nheterocycles that belong to either the pyrimidine-base group (uracil, cytosine, and thymine) or the purinebase group (adenine and guanine). Several nucleobases, mostly purine bases, have been detected in meteorites [1-3], with isotopic signatures consistent with an extraterrestrial origin . Uracil is the only pyrimidine-base compound formally reported in meteorites , though the presence of cytosine cannot be ruled out [5,6]. However, the actual process by which the uracil was made and the reasons for the non-detection of thymine in meteorites have yet to be fully explained. Although no N-heterocycles have ever been observed in the ISM [7,8], the positions of the 6.2-m interstellar emission features suggest a population of such molecules is likely to be present . In this work we study the formation of pyrimidine-based molecules, including the three nucleobases uracil, cytosine, and thymine from the ultraviolet (UV) irradiation of pyrimidine in ices consisting of several combinations of H(sub2)O, NH(sub3), CH(sub3)OH, and CH(sub4) at low temperature, in order to simulate the astrophysical conditions under which prebiotic species may be formed in the interstellar medium, in the protosolar nebula, and on icy bodies of the Solar System.
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- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20140006936.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 17-19 Mar. 2014; Houston, TX; United States.
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