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Science. 1998 Jul 31;281(5377):672-4.

Circular polarization in star- formation regions: implications for biomolecular homochirality

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  • 1J. Bailey, Anglo-Australian Observatory, Post Office Box 296, Epping, New South Wales 2121, Australia. A. Chrysostomou, J. H. Hough, T. M. Gledhill, A. McCall, S. Clark, Department of Physical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hat.


Strong infrared circular polarization resulting from dust scattering in reflection nebulae in the Orion OMC-1 star-formation region has been observed. Circular polarization at shorter wavelengths might have been important in inducing chiral asymmetry in interstellar organic molecules that could be subsequently delivered to the early Earth by comets, interplanetary dust particles, or meteors. This could account for the excess of L-amino acids found in the Murchison meteorite and could explain the origin of the homochirality of biological molecules.

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