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European and US scientists have proved for the first time that two bits of genetic coding, called nucleobases, contained in the meteor fragment, are truly extraterrestrial.
Genetic material from outer space found in a meteorite in Australia may well have played a key role in the origin of life on Earth, according to a study to be published Sunday.
Both of the molecules identified, uracil and xanthine, "are present in our DNA and RNA," said lead author Zita Martins, a researcher at Imperial College London.
RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is another key part of the genetic coding that makes up our bodies.
These molecules would also have been essential to the still-mysterious alchemy that somehow gave rise, some four billion years ago, to life itself.