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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)
In continuing studies aimed at understanding the prebiotic origin of RNA, we recently demonstrated a Kiliani–Fischer-type synthesis of simple sugars from hydrogen cyanide 1 using photoredox cycling of cyanocuprates (Scheme 1). The photoredox cycle oxidizes 1 to cyanogen 2 and generates associated reducing power in the form of protons and hydrated electrons,(More)
Soon after the origin of RNA-based life, depletion of prebiotically synthesised ribonucleotides would have driven the evolution of a biosynthetic pathway to these key building blocks. Ribozyme-catalysed nucleosidation—the key biosynthetic step—requires that ribose and the nucleobases are produced by abiotic chemistry and are relatively stable to the(More)
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