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Selective adsorption of L- and D-amino acids on calcite: Implications for biochemical homochiralityThe emergence of biochemical homochirality was a key step in the origin of life, yet prebiotic mechanisms for chiral separation are not well constrained. Here we demonstrate a geochemically plausible scenario for chiral separation of amino acids by adsorption on mineral surfaces. Crystals of the common rock-forming mineral calcite (CaCO(3)), when immersed in a racemic aspartic acid solution, display significant adsorption and chiral selectivity of d- and l-enantiomers on pairs of mirror-related crystal-growth surfaces. This selective adsorption is greater on crystals with terraced surface textures, which indicates that d- and l-aspartic acid concentrate along step-like linear growth features. Thus, selective adsorption of linear arrays of d- and l-amino acids on calcite, with subsequent condensation polymerization, represents a plausible geochemical mechanism for the production of homochiral polypeptides on the prebiotic Earth.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Hazen, R. M.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Filley, T. R.
Goodfriend, G. A.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
May 8, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume: 98
Issue: 10
ISSN: 0027-8424
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits

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