Necessary conditions for the emergence of homochirality via autocatalytic self-replication

Stich, M., Ribo, J. M., Blackmond, D. G., Hochberg, D. 2016. Necessary conditions for the emergence of homochirality via autocatalytic self-replication. Journal of Chemical Physics 145, 7, DOI: 10.1063/1.4961021

We analyze a recent proposal for spontaneous mirror symmetry breaking based on the coupling of first-order enantioselective autocatalysis and direct production of the enantiomers that invokes a critical role for intrinsic reaction noise. For isolated systems, the racemic state is the unique stable outcome for both stochastic and deterministic dynamics when the system is in compliance with the constraints dictated by the thermodynamics of chemical reaction processes. In open systems, the racemic outcome also results for both stochastic and deterministic dynamics when driving the autocatalysis unidirectionally by external reagents. Nonracemic states can result in the latter only if the reverse reactions are strictly zero: these are kinetically controlled outcomes for small populations and volumes, and can be simulated by stochastic dynamics. However, the stability of the thermodynamic limit proves that the racemic outcome is the unique stable state for strictly irreversible externally driven autocatalysis. These findings contradict the suggestion that the inhibition requirement of the Frank autocatalytic model for the emergence of homochirality may be relaxed in a noise-induced mechanism. Published by AIP Publishing.

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