Experts named the particle Nickelback. The molecule is a simple peptide consisting of 13 amino acid residues with two nickel atoms attached to nitrogen atoms.
This peptide was isolated during a series of experiments to determine the basic structures of proteins that could use hydrogen as an energy source for biochemical reactions.
Nickelback is reported to be chemically active enough to draw energy from the environment and initiate biochemical processes. This feature makes it a candidate to be the main ingredient of the primordial soup from which life emerged.
Scientists are confident that the molecule they found led to the first networks of metabolic reactions in which hydrogen was oxidized and reduced, making it a decisive factor in the emergence of life on Earth.
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