Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clues to Abiogenesis; Chemical Origins of Life

The amino acids that make up life are all left-handed, even though naturally occurring amino acids come in both left and right-handed forms. In the same way, organic sugars (those that are involved in life) are all right-handed despite the fact that both right and left-handed forms are found in nature.

Now researchers have shown a link between left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars.

What we have achieved is the first step on that pathway to show how simple sugars -- threose and erythrose -- originated. We generated these sugars from a very simple set of materials that most scientists believe were around at the time that life began.

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