Colm D. Duffy

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A minimal cell can be thought of as comprising informational, compartment-forming and metabolic subsystems. To imagine the abiotic assembly of such an overall system, however, places great demands on hypothetical prebiotic chemistry. The perceived differences and incompatibilities between these subsystems have led to the widely held assumption that one or(More)
A catalytic quantity of ZrCl 4 (20 mol %) was found to be an efficient catalyst for the one-pot esterification and deprotection of (5 S,6 R)-5,6-diacetoxyoct-7-enoic acid in good yields (44-62%) with a lactone formed as a minor byproduct. ZrCl 4 (10-20 mol %) was also sufficient to deprotect 1,3-dioxalane, bis-TBDMS ethers, and diacetate functional groups(More)
Synthesis of partially 2'/3'-O-acetylated oligoribonucleotides has been accomplished by using a 2'/3'-O-acetyl orthogonal protecting group strategy in which non-nucleophilic strong-base (DBU) labile nucleobase protecting groups and a UV-light cleavable linker were used. Strong-base stability of the photolabile linker allowed on-column nucleobase and(More)
The recent synthesis of pyrimidine ribonucleoside-2',3'-cyclic phosphates under prebiotically plausible conditions has strengthened the case for the involvement of ribonucleic acid (RNA) at an early stage in the origin of life. However, a prebiotic conversion of these weakly activated monomers, and their purine counterparts, to the 3',5'-linked RNA polymers(More)
The spontaneous formation of closed bilayer structures from prebiotically plausible amphiphiles is an essential requirement for the emergence of early cells on prebiotic Earth. The sources of amphiphiles could have been both endo- and exogenous (accretion of meteorite carbonaceous material or interstellar dust particles). Among all prebiotic possible(More)
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