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de Herrera, Andrea Greiner; Markert, Thomas; Trixler, Frank (2023): Temporal nanofluid environments induce prebiotic condensation in water. Communications Chemistry, 6 (1). ISSN 2399-3669

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Water is a problem in understanding chemical evolution towards life’s origins on Earth. Although all known life is being based on water key prebiotic reactions are inhibited by it. The prebiotic plausibility of current strategies to circumvent this paradox is questionable regarding the principle that evolution builds on existing pathways. Here, we report a straightforward way to overcome the water paradox in line with evolutionary conservatism. By utilising a molecular deposition method as a physicochemical probe, we uncovered a synergy between biomolecule assembly and temporal nanofluid conditions that emerge within transient nanoconfinements of water between suspended particles. Results from fluorometry, quantitative PCR, melting curve analysis, gel electrophoresis and computational modelling reveal that such conditions induce nonenzymatic polymerisation of nucleotides and promote basic cooperation between nucleotides and amino acids for RNA formation. Aqueous particle suspensions are a geochemical ubiquitous and thus prebiotic highly plausible setting. Harnessing nanofluid conditions in this setting for prebiotic syntheses is consistent with evolutionary conservatism, as living cells also work with temporal nanoconfined water for biosynthesis. Our findings add key insights required to understand the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry and open up systematic pathways to water-based green chemistry approaches in materials science and nanotechnology.

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