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A Unified Mechanism for Abiotic Adenine and Purine Synthesis in Formamide


  • This work was jointly supported by NSF and the NASA Astrobiology Program under the NSF Center for Chemical Evolution, CHE1004570.


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Form(am)idable beginning: Mechanistic pathways from formamide to purine and adenine have been proposed (see scheme, purine (R=H, X=H), adenine (R=CN, X=NH2, R′=CONH2). Parallels between these plausible prebiotic syntheses and purine-ring biosynthesis may allude to the origins of the metabolic route.

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