The work done in many laboratories during the last two decades has confirmed that hydrogen cyanide and cyanoacetylene are the two major precursors for the prebiotic synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, respectively. Although several different pathways for the synthesis of purines have been described, they are all variations of the initial mechanism proposed by Oró and Kimball, where hydrogen cyanide leads first to the formation of a 4,5-disubstituted imidazole derivative, and then to the closing of the purine ring with a C1 compound. A number of experiments have shown that purines and pyrimidines can also be obtained from methane, ammonia (nitrogen), and water mixtures, provided an activating source of energy (radiation, electric discharges, etc.) is available. However, in this case the yields are lower by about two orders of magnitude because of the intermediate formation of hydrogen cyanide and cyanoacetylene. The latter two compounds have been found in interstellar space, Titan and other bodies of the solar system. They were probably present in the primordial parent bodies from the solar nebula in concentrations of 10-2 to 10-3 M as inferred from recent calculations by Miller and coworkers obtained for the Murchison meteorite. These concentrations should have been sufficient to generate relatively large amounts of purine and pyrimidine bases on the primitive Earth.