Cyanide and the irony of how a poison could be key to the creation of life on Earth

This is what an article published in the journal Nature states. The team of chemists in charge of this report affirms that, although cyanide currently ends life as we know it, it could have helped life evolve on the primitive Earth, about 4,000 million years ago.

Back then, the world was very different. The oxygen we breathe, for example, did not yet exist.

Throughout history, cyanide has been It deservedly earned its reputation as an immensely toxic poison.Its use as a biological weapon was more than widespread during the Franco-Prussian War and World War II.

It’s even found its way into pop culture, like in spy movies where secret agents used it if they were hunted.

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“Cyanide is poisonous to the kind of biology we work with today,” says Ramanarayan Krishnamurthy, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in California and lead author of the study. “But it may not be poisonous if biology knows how to handle it.”

And the thing is, in a lab, he and his research team basically mixed up a bunch of molecules present on early Earth and put a little bit of cyanide into the mix. The result was thatit helped synthesize the simplest building blocks of life, under moderate reaction conditions and with relatively few steps.

“We had it reviewed three or four different people to make sure we had the correct interpretations”, says Krishnamurthy. “How simple it was was terrifying. We didn’t really have to do anything special, we mixed these molecules, we waited and the reaction occurred spontaneously”, concrete.

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With all this at stake, the researchers themselves affirm that despite the fact that we currently understand this product in biology as something poisonous, it should not have followed it 4 billion years ago.

“We’re letting chemistry tell us,” says Krishnamurthy. “Instead of assuming we already know what biology must have been like 4 billion years ago. >

And, if there was enough cyanide on early Earth, life could well be due to what we have now accepted as poison.And going a step further, if there are extraterrestrial organisms on other planets, maybe cyanide had something to do with it too, no one knows yet.