Sohan Jheeta is an independent researcher and the Chairman of the Network of Researchers on Horizontal Gene Transfer and Last Universal Common Ancestor (NoR HGT & LUCA) as an interest lie in to understand the origin of life on Earth and life elsewhere in the Universe. Dr. Sohan’s research could be described as frontier science delving both into the areas of space science and prebiotic chemistry; the former maintains that some of the molecules which collaborated in the formation of life may have been made in the vastness of space and delivered onto the surface of the early Earth ~4.3 billion years ago; whereas prebiotic chemistry contends that life’s molecules originated solely on Earth. More importantly, in relation to NoR HGT & LUCA, he is heavily involved in the promotion of the importance of horizontal gene transfer during the period of the last universal common (or cellular) ancestor, as he believe this may hold clues to the understanding of the reorganization of genetics pertaining to the emergence of the three domains (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya) of life and also in the better understanding of the pre-RNA chemistry.


To date over 180 different molecules have been discovered in the interstellar medium (ISM). The importance of astrophysical processing of ices during electron irradiation is featured in this oral presentation. The results of an experimental investigation of 1 keV electron irradiation of ices (deposited at 30 K) of (i) pure methanol and (ii) of a 1:1 mixture of NH3:CH3OH are reported. Molecular products formed within the ice were detected and monitored using FTIR spectroscopy. The products observed were methyl formate (H3COHCO), methane (CH4), hydroxymethyl (CH2OH), formamide (HCONH2), formic acid (HCOOH), formaldehyde (H2CO), formyl radical (HCO), cyanate ion (OCN-), isocyanic acid (HNCO), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The consequences of these results for prebiotic chemistry in the interstellar medium and star forming regions are also discussed.