We have searched three hot molecular cores for submillimetre emission from the nucleic acid building block pyrimidine. We obtain upper limits to the total pyrimidine (beam-averaged) column densities towards Sgr B2(N), Orion KL and W51 el/e2 of 1.7 × 1014, 2.4 × 1014 and 3.4 × 1014 cm-2, respectively. The associated upper limits to the pyrimidine fractional abundances lie in the range (0.3-3) × 10-10. Implications of this result for interstellar organic chemistry, and for the prospects of detecting nitrogen heterocycles in general, are discussed briefly.
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