An Evolutionary Mystery: Mirror Asymmetry in Life and in Space

Most molecules used by life exist in two forms that are mirror images of each other.  One of the great unanswered questions in our evolutionary history is why all life on Earth, and their critical biological molecules like amino acids and proteins, use only one “hand” of these forms. Sugars are exclusively right-handed, amino acids are left-handed, and even DNA coils into right-handed helices. We call this phenomenon homochirality, but how and why did our single-handed world emerge?

Join Brett McGuire of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in this free rebroadcast to find out if we can peer into the center of our galaxy for the answers!

What You Will Learn

  • What is the impact of homochirality on biology and chemical evolution
  • What are the potential origins of homochirality and what are the challenges in studying possible interstellar origins
  • What was the first detection of a chiral interstellar molecule and what are the challenges associated with measuring a potential chiral excess in space


The Fine Print

ACS Webinars® does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.

Meet the Experts  

Brett McGuire
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Ryan Fortenberry
University of Mississippi

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