An Overview of Formamide Based Nucleosynthesis and Exoplanetary Candidates for Associated RNA Auto-Syntheses

Author:
Singh, Amrita, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia
Advisor:
Remijan, Anthony, Department of Astronomy, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Abstract:

This paper comes in two parts; first an analysis and overview of the RNA World theory, formamide-based nucleic acid synthesis, and how formamide fits into and even furthers the theory, and second an exploration of the Kepler Exoplanets Catalogue to determine candidates for prebiotic synthesis. The mere term "RNA World" brings up much of controversy within the realm of the origins of life, but it is the strongest abiogenesis theory, if given a few updates. With everything in this universe, things move from simple to complex in every sense. Organisms gain more cells, hot cores turn into planetary systems, and nucleotides turn into single stranded RNA before DNA can develop. Previous models for RNA synthesis relied on HCN as a carbon source, which is not astronomically feasible in most early Earth scenarios. However, literature reviews prove that formamide is easily the best contender for an HCN sources in nucleosynthesis and has been found in the galactic habitable zone and within comets (a likely middleman to the planetary surface). Furthermore, formamide and precursors to it can be mapped within the galactic habitable zone to give further insight into the kinds of systems that may one day host habitable, life forming planets. This quick and dry data reduction hopes to identify where formamide is likely to be found and associating those locations with exoplanets already observed to be conducive to the formation of nucleotides based off of their physical environment.

Degree:
BS (Bachelor of Science)
Keywords:
nucleic acid synthesis, formamide, nucleosynthesis, rna world
Language:
English
Issued Date:
2019/05/10