Books  Evolutionary Biology  Evolutionary Biology 

Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life: Caught in the Act of Formation

Series: Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics

By: Uwe Meierhenrich

241 pages, Tabs, figs, illus

Springer-Verlag

Hardback | Sep 2008 | #177472 | ISBN-13: 9783540768852
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £108.00 $136/€127 approx

About this book

How did life originate and why were left-handed molecules selected for its architecture?

This question of high public and interdisciplinary scientific interest is the central theme of this book. It is widely known that in processes triggering the origin of life on Earth, the equal occurrence, the parity between left-handed amino acids and their right-handed mirror images, was violated. The balance is inevitably tipped to the left - provoking that life's proteins today exclusively implement the left form of amino acids.

Written in an intoxicating style, this book describes how the basic building blocks of life, the amino acids, formed. After a comprehensible introduction into stereochemistry, the author addresses the inherent property of amino acids in living organisms, namely the preference for left-handedness. What was the cause for violation of parity of amino acids in the emergence of life on Earth? All the fascinating models proposed by physicists, chemists and biologist are vividly presented including the scientific conflicts. The author describes the attempt to verify any of those models with the chirality module of the ROSETTA mission, a probe built and launched with the mission to land on a comet and analyse whether there are chiral organic compounds that could have been brought to the Earth by cometary impacts.

Aus den Rezensionen: "! Eine Starke des Buches liegt darin, dass es das Wechselspiel von Theorie und Experiment betont, etwa bei der Behandlung der Paritatsverletzung. Das Experiment hat meist ein starkeres Gewicht. ! Das Buch ist eine Fundgrube fur all diejenigen, die sich mit chemischer Evolution beschaftigen. Neben dem gut lesbaren Text bietet es zahlreiche Detailinformationen ! Die zahlreichen Abbildungen und Formeln sind von guter Qualitat. Die Literaturliste umfasst circa 500 Eintrage und gibt eine gute Ubersicht uber die Originalarbeiten. ! Ein gelungenes und sehr empfehlenswertes Buch." (Henry Strasdeit, in: Nachrichten aus der Chemie, Februar 2009, Vol. 57, S. 165) "In seinen [sic] englischsprachigen Buch 'Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life' hat Prof. Uwe Meierhenrich die zahlreichen Forschungsergebnisse gesammelt, die Hinweise auf den Ursprung des Lebens geben konnen. ... Das Buch ist leicht zu lesen und dabei hochwissenschaftlich. Meierhenrich schreibt im Stile englischer, wissenschaftlicher Veroffentlichungen inklusive der Zitate. Gute Grundlagen in Chemie und Biologie mussen vorhanden sein, dann erschliesst sich ein faszinierendes Werk zu einem spannenden Thema von jemandem, der an vorderster Front mitforscht." (http://www.3sat.de/SCRIPTS/print.php?url=/nano/bt/137012/index.html)


Contents

Tracing Life's Origin: From Amino Acids to Space Mission ROSETTA.- Stereochemistry for the Study of the Origin of Life.- Minority Report: Life's Chiral Molecules of Opposite Handedness.- When Crystals Deliver Chirality to Life.- When Parity Falls: The Weak Nuclear Interaction.- Chiral Fields: Light, Magnetism, and Chirality.- Key to the Prebiotic Origin of Amino Acids.- A New Record for Chiral Molecules in Meteorites.- The New Space Race: Chiral Molecules on Comets and on Mars.- Accelerating the Carousel: Amplification mechanisms.

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