Connections Between Nuclear Physics and the Origin of Life - Examining the Origin of Biomolecular Chirality
1 Western Michigan University, Department of Physics, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5252 USA
2 National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan 181-8588
3 School of Physics,Beihang Univ. (Beijing Univ. of Aeronautics and Astronautics), Beijing 100191,P.R. China
4 The Ohio State University, Department of Physics and Department of Astronomy, Columbus, OH43210 USA
5 Graduate School of Science Univ. of Tokyo, Bukyo-ku, , Tokyo 113-0033 Japan
6 Laboratory for Advanced Nuclear Energy, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Tech-nology, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 152-8550, Japan
7 Western Michigan University, Department of Chemistry, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5252 USA
8 Meisei University, Department of Physics, Hino Tokyo 191-8506, Japan
9 Nihon University, 3-25-40, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8550, Japan
Published online: 14 January 2020
The discovery of bio-molecules in meteorites with an excess of one chiral state has created one of the biggest questions in astrobiology today. That is, what is the origin of bio-molecular homochirality? Studies of this question are highly interdisciplinary, and while several phenomenological models exist, we examine the relationship between fundamental symmetries at the particle level and the macroscopic formation of bio-molecules. A model has been developed which couples fundamental interactions with the formation of molecular chirality. In this magneto-chiral model atomic nuclei bound in amino acids interact via the weak interaction in stellar environments. Nuclei are coupled to the molecular geometry (chirality) via the shielding tensor, the same interaction responsible for NMR identification. Associated with this is the fact that isotopic abundances vary from solar system values. Interactions with leptons can selectively destroy one chiral state over the other while changing isotopic values. Possible sites are proposed in which this model may exist.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
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