Notice: This is an archived and unmaintained page. For current information, please browse

2016 Annual Science Report

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Reporting  |  JAN 2016 – DEC 2016

Executive Summary

Project 1: The origin of homochirality (Goldenfeld):
The goal of this project is to understand one of the two most obvious universal signatures of life on Earth, the homochirality of amino acids and sugars. The chiral amino acids are all left-handed, the sugars right-handed. The other universal signature of life on Earth is the genetic code. Our analysis of its evolution , and the rapidity with which it emerged from an abiotic planet, is the background for the first half-billion years of evolving life, and predicts a network phase of life preceding the “Darwinian Transition” to the current era of vertical dominated evolution. Somewhere on this timeline sits the emergence of homochirality. The only class of theories that has been proposed to explain the mystery of homochirality is spontaneous symmetry breaking as a result of autocatalysis. However, our analysis has shown that these theories in effect ... Continue reading.

Field Sites
5 Institutions
5 Project Reports
0 Publications
0 Field Sites

Project Reports