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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 May;2(5):a002147. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a002147. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

The origin of biological homochirality.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA. blackmond@scripps.edu

Abstract

The single-handedness of biological molecules has fascinated scientists and laymen alike since Pasteur's first painstaking separation of the enantiomorphic crystals of a tartrate salt more than 150 yr ago. More recently, a number of theoretical and experimental investigations have helped to delineate models for how one enantiomer might have come to dominate over the other from what presumably was a racemic prebiotic world. This article highlights mechanisms for enantioenrichment that include either chemical or physical processes, or a combination of both. The scientific driving force for this work arises from an interest in understanding the origin of life, because the homochirality of biological molecules is a signature of life.

PMID:
20452962
PMCID:
PMC2857173
DOI:
10.1101/cshperspect.a002147
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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