Borate and the origin of RNA: A Model for the Precursors to Life

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23 Citations (Scopus)


According to the RNA World hypothesis, ribonucleic acid (RNA) played a critical role in the origin of life. However, ribose, an essential component of RNA, is easily degraded: finding a way to stabilize it is critical to the viability of the hypothesis. Borate has been experimentally shown to have a strong affinity for ribose, and, thus, could have protected ribose from degradation in the formose reaction, a potential process for prebiotic ribose formation. Accumulation of borate on Hadean Earth (prior to ∼4,000 Ma) might have been a key step in the chemical evolution of the biotic sugar. Proto-arcs are suggested as a geological setting sufficiently rich in borate to stabilize ribose during the Hadean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug


  • Hadean Earth
  • Prebiotic
  • Proto-arc
  • RNA
  • Ribose


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