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Simple sugar molecule

Also called glycolaldehyde, the simple sugar molecule is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and plays a key role in the chemical reaction that forms ribonucleic acid (RNA), a crucial biomolecule present in all living cells.

Simple sugar molecules are found abundantly on Earth, usually in the form of an odourless white powder with a sweet taste. However, sugar has never been found in outer space until recently. In August 2012, a team of European and American astronomers said they had spotted a simple sugar molecule in a gas cloud surrounding a 10,000-year-old star similar to the sun. The star, called IRAS 16293-2422, is about 400 light years from Earth. Simple sugar molecule or glycolaldehyde are likely formed by radiation from the star hitting even simpler molecules floating through space.

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