OoL digest — December 21st edition

Seven papers this week in OoL research ; four in astrobiology and three in biochemistry. In astrobiology, Bains presents a model according to which some gases in Venusian clouds would be biogenic, Barge discusses the threshold between abiotic and biotic sources for biosignatures, DePasquale suggests that Mars’ missing water might be stored in a clay mineral, and Paschek models nucleobase concentrations in planetesimals of carbonaceous chondrites. In biochemistry, Ding suggests that more uniform binding and reactivity of imidazolium-bridged intermediates may lead to the ability to copy arbitrary template sequences under prebiotically plausible conditions, Henriques Pereira discusses the role of geochemical protoenzymes in primordial metabolism, and Joshi analyzes the potential of N-acyl amino acids as a plausible niche for the emergence of cellular life on the early Earth. Enjoy!


Production of ammonia makes Venusian clouds habitable and explains observed cloud-level chemical anomalies – Bains et al. – PNAS

Determining the “Biosignature Threshold” for Life Detection on Biotic, Abiotic, or Prebiotic Worlds – Barge et al. – Astrobiology

The upper-thermal stability of an iron-rich smectite: Implications for smectite formation on Mars – DePasquale et al. – Icarus

Meteorites and the RNA world II: Synthesis of Nucleobases in Carbonaceous Planetesimals and the Role of Initial Volatile Content – Paschek et al. – preprint


Kinetic explanations for the sequence biases observed in the nonenzymatic copying of RNA templates – Ding et al. – Nucleic Acids Research

Role of geochemical protoenzymes (geozymes) in primordial metabolism: Specific abiotic hydride transfer by metals to the biological redox cofactor NAD+ – Henriques Pereira et al. – The FEBS Journal

Influence of Metal Ions on Model Protoamphiphilic Vesicular Systems: Insights from Laboratory and Analogue Studies – Joshi et al. – Life