Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Life's sweet beginnings?

Sugars are common components of organisms on Earth. So their discovery in a meteorite from a lifeless part of the asteroid belt has implications for theories of the origin of life.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: How sweet?


  1. Cooper, G. et al. Nature 414, 879–883 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Oró, J. Nature 190, 389–390 (1961).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Degens, E. T. & Bajor, M. Naturwissenschaften 49, 605–606 (1962).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Sephton, M. A. & Gilmour, I. Mass Spectrom. Rev. 20, 111–120 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark A. Sephton.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sephton, M. Life's sweet beginnings?. Nature 414, 857–858 (2001).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing