We have measured fragment mass spectra and total destruction cross sections for protonated and deprotonated adenine following collisions with He at center-of-mass energies in the 20–240 eV range. Classical and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations are used to provide detailed information on the fragmentation pathways and suggest a range of alternative routes compared to those reported in earlier studies. These new pathways involve, for instance, losses of HNC molecules from protonated adenine and losses of NH2 or C3H2N2 from deprotonated adenine. The present results may be important to advance the understanding of how biomolecules may be formed and processed in various astrophysical environments.

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