Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics

Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life

Caught in the Act of Formation

Authors: Meierhenrich, Uwe

  • A thrilling story built around the question, "How did life originate and why were left-handed molecules selected for its architecture?"
  • Topic of high public and interdisciplinary interest
  • Strong coverage in the press
  • With a foreword by Henri B. Kagan
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eBook $129.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-540-76886-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-540-76885-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-642-09558-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

"How did life originate and why were left-handed molecules selected for its architecture?" This question of high public and interdisciplinary scientific interest is the central theme of this book. It is widely known that in processes triggering the origin of life on Earth, the equal occurrence, the parity between left-handed amino acids and their right-handed mirror images, was violated. The balance is inevitably tipped to the left – provoking that life’s proteins today exclusively implement the left form of amino acids.
Written in an intoxicating style, this book describes how the basic building blocks of life, the amino acids, formed. After a comprehensible introduction into stereochemistry, the author addresses the inherent property of amino acids in living organisms, namely the preference for left-handedness. What was the cause for violation of parity of amino acids in the emergence of life on Earth? All the fascinating models proposed by physicists, chemists and biologist are vividly presented including the scientific conflicts. The author describes the attempt to verify any of those models with the chirality module of the ROSETTA mission, a probe built and launched with the mission to land on a comet and analyse whether there are chiral organic compounds that could have been brought to the Earth by cometary impacts.
A truly interdisciplinary astrobiology book, "Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life", will fascinate students, researchers and all readers with backgrounds in natural sciences..

With a foreword by Henri B. Kagan.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"This recent book by Uwe Meierhenrich … should be of interest to a wide audience of (astro) chemists, (astro) biologists, physicists, and geologists. … The book is well referenced … and also contains a useful index plus an appendix on amino acids found in the Murchion meteorite. … Overall, this is an excellent and welcome contribution to the field. It should be essential reading for anyone concerned with the far-reaching and exciting subject of chirobiogenesis … ." (Pedro Cintas, Chirality, 2009)

"The book … is of interest to a very broad readership covering the whole spectrum of theoreticians, (including even philosophers), chemists, physicists, biologists, astronomers, and space engineers interested in the fascinating subject of the origins of life on Earth and in Space and the possibility of extant life traces on extraterrestrial bodies. … In sum I would strongly recommend Meierhenrich’s book … . The book is a ‘must’ for everybody working in or near the ever spreading realm of space technology … ." (Wolfram H.-P. Thiemann, Origin of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, Issue 1, 2009)

"It is a rare event when a book both teaches and inspires. This one does both in spades. … Additional studies, which are covered in this work, look at either the enrichment or destruction of one form over the other, under conditions postulated to have existed when the Earth was young. … The book is well written and organized and provides competing experimental evidence and theories on this controversial subject. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and above." (J. M. Tomich, Choice, Vol. 46 (8), April, 2009)


Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • Tracing Life’s Origin: From Amino Acids to Space Mission ROSETTA

    Meierhenrich, Uwe

    Pages 1-16

  • Stereochemistry for the Study of the Origin of Life

    Meierhenrich, Uwe

    Pages 17-46

  • Minority Report: Life’s Chiral Molecules of Opposite Handedness

    Meierhenrich, Uwe

    Pages 47-59

  • When Crystals Deliver Chirality to Life

    Meierhenrich, Uwe

    Pages 61-78

  • When Parity Falls: The Weak Nuclear Interaction

    Meierhenrich, Uwe

    Pages 79-102

Buy this book

eBook $129.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-540-76886-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-540-76885-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-642-09558-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life
Book Subtitle
Caught in the Act of Formation
Authors
Series Title
Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics
Copyright
2008
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
eBook ISBN
978-3-540-76886-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-540-76886-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-540-76885-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-642-09558-0
Series ISSN
1610-8957
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXII, 242
Number of Illustrations and Tables
115 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour
Topics