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Talk: The Asymmetry of Life

Speaker: Cornelia Meinert, Institut de Chimie de Nice (Host: Frank Jensen)

10.09.2019 | Marianne Sommer

Dato ons 25 sep
Tid 10:15 11:00
Sted Aud VI (1510-213), Institut for Kemi, Langelandsgade 140, 8000 Aarhus C


The Asymmetry of Life

What is responsible for the emergence of life’s homochiral biopolymers, DNA, RNA and proteins, where all the constituent monomers exhibit the same handedness?  

Based on in-situ observations and laboratory studies, we propose that this handedness occurs when chiral biomolecules are synthesized asymmetrically through interaction with circularly polarized photons in interstellar space. Our recent research has shown that the central chiral unit of RNA, ribose, forms readily under simulated comet conditions and this has provided new insights into the accessibility of precursors of genetic material in interstellar environments. In my presentation, I will therefore highlight a few significant results on our on-going cometary ice simulation experiments, the chiroptical properties of targeted sugar and amino acid molecules in the UV using circularly polarized synchrotron light and present future strategies towards furthering understanding the origin of asymmetric prebiotic molecules.

Cornelia Meinert
Institut de Chimie de Nice, France

Institut for Kemi, Medarbejdere, Offentligheden / Pressen