The Helix, of DNA Fame, May Have Arisen with Startling Ease

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Artwork for a study led by Nick Hud and published in Angewandte Chemie shows the chemical structure of the helix that self-assembled in the lab, producing surprisingly bountiful results. Credit: Georgia Tech / Nick Hud

Artwork for a study led by Nick Hud and published in Angewandte Chemie shows the chemical structure of the helix that self-assembled in the lab, producing surprisingly bountiful results. Credit: Georgia Tech / Nick Hud

Nicholas Hud researches the possible origins of life chemicals on early Earth, when many of them may have formed in puddles. He has produced good candidates for precursors of RNA in easy reactions and in plentiful quantities using triaminopyrimidineCyanuric acid, barbituric acid, and melamine. Credit: Georgia Tech / Fitrah Hamid 

A proto-nucleobase next to a nucleobase. Hard to tell the difference. Credit: Georgia Tech / Fitrah Hamid

A model of an RNA helix. Credit: Georgia Tech / Fitrah Hamid

An artist's depiction of a section of DNA.  (Not licensed for third parties. For usage rights, please contact: istock/Getty Images)