Peptides on Stardust May Have Provided a Shortcut to Life

Astrobiologists showed that peptides can spontaneously form on the solid, frozen particles of cosmic dust, likely making them a material part of the earliest stages of life.

via Quanta Magazine

The simplicity and favorable thermodynamics of this new space-based mechanism for forming peptides make it a more promising alternative to the known purely chemical processes that could have occurred on a lifeless Earth, according to Serge Krasnokutski, the lead author on the new paper and a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany. And that simplicity “suggests that proteins were among the first molecules involved in the evolutionary process leading to life,” he said.

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