by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Apr 12, 2012
New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs - monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans - may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe.
"We would be better off not meeting them," concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
In the report, noted scientist Ronald Breslow, Ph.D., discusses the century-old mystery of why the building blocks of terrestrial amino acids (which make up proteins), sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA exist mainly in one orientation or shape.
There are two possible orientations, left and right, which mirror each other in the same way as hands. This is known as "chirality."
In order for life to arise, proteins, for instance, must contain only one chiral form of amino acids, left or right. With the exception of a few bacteria, amino acids in all life on Earth have the left-handed orientation.
Most sugars have a right-handed orientation. How did that so-called homochirality, the predominance of one chiral form, happen?
Breslow describes evidence supporting the idea that the unusual amino acids carried to a lifeless Earth by meteorites about 4 billion years ago set the pattern for normal amino acids with the L-geometry, the kind in terrestial proteins, and how those could lead to D-sugars of the kind in DNA.
"Of course," Breslow says, "showing that it could have happened this way is not the same as showing that it did."
He adds: "An implication from this work is that elsewhere in the universe there could be life forms based on D-amino acids and L-sugars. Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them."
"Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth"; Journal of the American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society
Life Beyond Earth
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
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In the Beginning ... Was the Beaker?
Upton NY (SPX) Apr 05, 2012
In the beginning ... but how do you begin? That question has long perplexed scientists in fields from cosmology to anthropology. Fortunately, researchers at the Office of Science's Brookhaven National Lab (Brookhaven Lab) are beginning to get at the answer on a small but important scale ... in biology. Specifically, the researchers looked at how cells begin to duplicate their DNA, so they ... read more
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