Monday, 3 May 2010

Abiogenesis and Eve

For scientists studying the origin of life (abiogenesis) one of the biggest mysteries involves something called chirality. Amino acids have both a left and right handed form (enantiomers) yet the amino acids used in organisms are all left handed. Most mixtures are racemic, meaning they contain even number of left and right handed amino acids; something in the ancient Earth caused the mixtures of amino acids to be non-racemic, leaving its signature on all life since. A recent study into the effects of temperature and other conditions on the formation of amino acid crystals has demonstrated that possible early Earth conditions could easily produce left handed crystals in high numbers. The aspartic acid used has been dubbed the "ancestral Eve crystal" as it may have been the trigger for all other amino acids being left handed:

1 comment:

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