Photochemical Steps in the Prebiotic Synthesis of Purine Precursors from HCN


  • We acknowledge fruitful discussions with Dr. M. Patil. The research at IOCB was part of the project RVO: 61388963.


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So much excitement: The mechanism for the photoconversion of the HCN tetramer into a precursor of purine nucleobases and nucleotides has been revealed by computational methods. Dissipation of the photoenergy in less than 2 ps eliminates the possibility of hot-ground-state reactions. Instead, a series of photoexcitations followed by internal conversion (IC) drives the reaction via an excited azetene (see picture).