Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is this how life began? Here's a link to the full paper.

According to Rand Simberg's post on the topic, the article author Sylvain L. Smadja claims:
...Topics relevant to the Origin of Life that are addressed in this paper:
1. Why the relevant amino acids are all left-handed
2. Why there are 20 standard amino acids, and why those 20
3. Why the relevant amino acids are all "alpha-amino"
4. Why the relevant sugars are right-handed
5. The origin and preservation of homochirality
6. The origin of nucleobases A, G, C, U
7. The origin of RNA
8. The origin of the lipids
To put this into perspective, each one of these topics is a major big deal. That this model shows them as possibly being parts of interrelated cascading chemical steps is stunning. It is interesting to note that these chemical steps take place, not in a "primordial soup," but in a sheltered microenvironment of a mineral host structure. Since these proposed reactions do not work in water, the concept of life originating in a "primordial soup" may have mislead Origin of Life chemists for many decades.
Disclaimer: My own knowledge is molecular biology is inadequate to fully evaluate the author's theory.