Prebiotic Synthesis of Pyrimidine Nucleosides
Collins, James P.
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The problem of forming a glycosidic bond between ribose and the free nucleoside bases to produce beta-nucleosides under plausible prebiotic conditions is commonly referred to in origin of life research as The Nucleoside Problem. The lack of a general solution to this problem currently represents one of the largest stumbling blocks to the RNA world hypothesis and many other theories regarding the origin of life. Over thirty years ago the purine nucleosides were successfully synthesized by drying the fully-formed bases and ribose together in the presence of divalent metal ion salts. However, glycosidic bond formation by the pyrimidine bases has never been achieved under similar reaction conditions. This thesis describes the first plausible prebiotic synthesis of a pyrimidine nucleoside, demonstrated with the pyrimidine base analogue 2-pyrimidinone. Information provided by nucleoside-formation reaction involving 2-pyrimidinone and related pyrimidine bases should provide valuable insights into the possible mechanism by which glycosidic bond formation was accomplished on the prebiotic Earth.