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Supernovae, Neutrinos and the Chirality of Amino Acids
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan
Department of Astronomy, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2011; in revised form: 12 May 2011 / Accepted: 20 May 2011 / Published: 31 May 2011
Abstract: A mechanism for creating an enantioenrichment in the amino acids, the building blocks of the proteins, that involves global selection of one handedness by interactions between the amino acids and neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae is defined. The chiral selection involves the dependence of the interaction cross sections on the orientations of the spins of the neutrinos and the 14N nuclei in the amino acids, or in precursor molecules, which in turn couple to the molecular chirality. It also requires an asymmetric distribution of neutrinos emitted from the supernova. The subsequent chemical evolution and galactic mixing would ultimately populate the Galaxy with the selected species. The resulting amino acids could either be the source thereof on Earth, or could have triggered the chirality that was ultimately achieved for Earth’s proteinaceous amino acids.
Keywords: amino acids; chirality; origin of life; molecular clouds; supernova neutrinos
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MDPI and ACS Style
Boyd, R.N.; Kajino, T.; Onaka, T. Supernovae, Neutrinos and the Chirality of Amino Acids. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 3432-3444.
Boyd RN, Kajino T, Onaka T. Supernovae, Neutrinos and the Chirality of Amino Acids. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2011; 12(6):3432-3444.
Boyd, Richard N.; Kajino, Toshitaka; Onaka, Takashi. 2011. "Supernovae, Neutrinos and the Chirality of Amino Acids." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 12, no. 6: 3432-3444.