Chemical Basis of Biological Homochirality during the Abiotic Evolution Stages on Earth

Ribo, M., Hochberg, D. 2019. Chemical Basis of Biological Homochirality during the Abiotic Evolution Stages on Earth. Symmetry Basel 11, 6, DOI: 10.3390/sym11060814

Spontaneous mirror symmetry breaking (SMSB), a phenomenon leading to non-equilibrium stationary states (NESS) that exhibits biases away from the racemic composition is discussed here in the framework of dissipative reaction networks. Such networks may lead to a metastable racemic non-equilibrium stationary state that transforms into one of two degenerate but stable enantiomeric NESSs. In such a bifurcation scenario, the type of the reaction network, as well the boundary conditions, are similar to those characterizing the currently accepted stages of emergence of replicators and autocatalytic systems. Simple asymmetric inductions by physical chiral forces during previous stages of chemical evolution, for example in astrophysical scenarios, must involve unavoidable racemization processes during the time scales associated with the different stages of chemical evolution. However, residual enantiomeric excesses of such asymmetric inductions suffice to drive the SMSB stochastic distribution of chiral signs into a deterministic distribution. According to these features, we propose that a basic model of the chiral machinery of proto-life would emerge during the formation of proto-cell systems by the convergence of the former enantioselective scenarios.

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