Theoretical and Experimental Studies Related to the Prebiotic Chemistry of Nucleic Acids
This project is aimed at investigating the prebiotic chemistry of nucleic acids omponents by means of a combined experimental-theoretical approach. From the side of theory we will use mainly quantum chemical calculations, while the experimental work will be done with laboratory simulation of energetic events with pulsed lasers. In particular, we will address the formamide-based synthesis of nucleobases. In addition, we will compare the mechanism of the formose reaction in various environments, i.e. in the presence of borate minerals, in aqueous solution and in formamide. Further, we plan to study the phosphorylation reaction of nucleosides both in aqueous environment and in formamide as well as the phosphorylation reaction of aldopentose-borate complexes. The main goal of this project is threefold: (i) to give an insight into the kinetics and thermodynamics of the processes that could play a role at creating the components of the first genetic material, (ii) to evaluate the impact of the chemical environment on the outcome of these reactions, and (iii) to characterize the structure, stability and electronic structure of the species involved in them.