Monday, March 21, 2011

Long-Neglected Experiment Gives New Clues to Origin of Life - ScienceNOW

Long-Neglected Experiment Gives New Clues to Origin of Life - ScienceNOW: For some reason, the results of the experiments were shelved but not analyzed, surfacing again only after Miller died and colleagues began poring through his archives. In 2008, researchers reported the results of one of those experiments, in which the half-century-old residues yielded 22 amino acids, 10 of which hadn't been detected in the original 1952 experiment...
Their results, reported online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the 1958 experiment produced 23 amino acids, including six that contained sulfur. The residue samples included nearly equal proportions of left-handed and right-handed versions of several amino acids, a sign that the organic chemicals had been generated during the experiment and not by microorganisms that had somehow made their way into the sealed glass vials. Living cells use and produce only left-handed versions of amino acids, Cleaves says.

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