Biology is all about information in the DNA and RNA, which are those complex molecules that are tuned to their functions. But is this the only way to store hereditary molecular information? Researchers believe that life – as we know it – could not have existed before the existence of nucleic acids. The goal of this research is to understand better how these nucleic acids came to exist on Earth.
The main role of the nucleic acids when it comes to the biological information is also the reason why they are a target for pharmaceutical research, and synthetic molecules that mimic the nucleic acids form are the base of many treatments of viral diseases, like HIV.
There are also other nucleic acid-like polymers, but their role is not known for sure when it comes to possible alternatives for hereditary information storage. By using innovative computational methods, scientists from the Earth-Life Science Institute have taken a look at the “chemical neighborhood” of nucleic acids. They found more than 1 million variants, thing that suggested that there was an unexplored universe of chemistry which was relevant to pharmacology, biochemistry and the entire idea of understanding the origin of life. The molecules found with this study could be modified in order to produce hundreds of millions of potential pharmaceutical drug leads.
More about the nucleic acids
Nucleic acids were first found in the 19th century. Their composition and their biological role were not understood by scientists until the 20th century. The discovery of the double-helical structure showed a simple explanation for evolutionary functions. all the things living on Earth store information in the DNA, which is made out of two polymer strands, which are wrapped around each other, and strand