Discovery demystifies origin of life phenomenon
Every day, scientists get one step further to discovering how life first began on Earth billions of years ago. We still have a lot to uncover and understand, but researchers at the University of Akron have gotten one step closer by showing that large enough molecules with an electrical charge will seek out their own kind and assemble. Hopefully this scientific revelation will lead us one step closer to finding out how the first life forms were created.
Biomolecules, if large enough (several nanometers) and with an electrical charge, will seek their own type with which to form large assemblies. This is essentially 'self-recognition' of left-handed and right-handed molecule pairs.
"We show that homochirality, or the manner in which molecules select other like molecules to form larger assemblies, may not be as mysterious as we imagined," Liu says.
While an understanding of how homochirality occurred at the onset of life remains a mystery, this new finding emphasizes that Mother Nature's inner workings may not be as complex as we think.
Panchao Yin, Zhi-Ming Zhang, Hongjin Lv, Tao Li, Fadi Haso, Lang Hu, Baofang Zhang, John Bacsa, Yongge Wei, Yanqing Gao, Yu Hou, Yang-Guang Li, Craig L. Hill, En-Bo Wang, Tianbo Liu. Chiral recognition and selection during the self-assembly process of protein-mimic macroanions. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 6475 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7475