Our earlier experiments are briefly reviewed, involving the abiotic generation of optical activity by exposure of DL-amino acids to various "chiral" physical forces. The enantiomeric enrichments so obtained were low, however, and additional experiments were undertaken with the objective of abiotically enhancing such small enantiomeric excesses. D≠L Mixtures of leucine N-carboxy anhydride gave enantiomerically enriched polymers on partial polymerization, while valine NCA mixtures behaved oppositely. Leucine polymers were also found to hydrolyze stereoselectively, providing for additional enantiomenic enhancement. A repetitive sequence of partial polymerization-hydrolysis steps is suggested as a possible mechanism for the abiotic genesis of optically enriched polypeptides on the primitive Earth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Environmental Science(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)