A meteorite fragment found forty years ago in Australia has an unusually high number of non-biological amino acids that are "left-handed" - a surprising finding because almost all other non-living amino acids and proteins are as likely to be "right-" as "left-handed." The findings may explain the left-handed origins of biological amino acids on Earth.
SOURCE: Meteorite photo by Chip Clark, The Smithsonian Institution, hands by Photodisc | GRAPHIC: The Washington Post - October 6, 2008
Rock Offers Mirror-Image Clues to Life's Origins Article | For more than 150 years, scientists have known that the most basic building blocks of life -- chains of amino acid molecules and the proteins they form -- almost always have the unusual characteristic of being overwhelmingly "left-handed." The molecules, of course, have no hands, but they are almost...