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Biosystems. 1987;20(1):99-111.

Supernovae, neutron stars and biomolecular chirality.


Recent theoretical and experimental investigations of the origin of biomolecular chirality are reviewed briefly. Biotic and abiotic theories are evaluated critically with the conclusion that asymmetric photochemical processes with circulary polarized light (CPL), particularly asymmetric photolyses, constitute the most viable mechanisms. Solar CPL sources appear too weak and random to be effective. We suggest an alternative CPL source, namely, the synchrotron radiation from the neutron star remnants of supernova explosions. This could asymmetrically process racemic compounds in the organic mantles of the dust grains in interstellar clouds, and the resulting chiral molecules could be transferred to Earth by cold accretion as the solar system periodically traverses these interstellar clouds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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