I mention this particularly because creationists have been invoking the concept of “spin-selectivity”, which sounds really technical and scientific to bring up, as some sort of insurmountable obstacle to the origin of homochirality and life.
S. Furkan Ozturk et al., Origin of biological homochirality by crystallization of an RNA precursor on a magnetic surface.Sci. Adv. 9, eadg8274 (2023). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adg8274
Homochirality is a signature of life on Earth, yet its origins remain an unsolved puzzle. Achieving homochirality is essential for a high-yielding prebiotic network capable of producing functional polymers like RNA and peptides on a persistent basis. Because of the chiral-induced spin selectivity effect, which established a strong coupling between electron spin and molecular chirality, magnetic surfaces can act as chiral agents and be templates for the enantioselective crystallization of chiral molecules. Here, we studied the spin-selective crystallization of racemic ribo-aminooxazoline (RAO), an RNA precursor, on magnetite (Fe3O4) surfaces, achieving an unprecedented enantiomeric excess (ee) of about 60%. Following the initial enrichment, we then obtained homochiral (100% ee) crystals of RAO after a subsequent crystallization. Our results demonstrate a prebiotically plausible way of achieving system-level homochirality from completely racemic starting materials, in a shallow-lake environment on early Earth where sedimentary magnetite deposits are expected to be common.
Or this: Chirality-induced avalanche magnetization of magnetite by an RNA precursor | Nature Communications
Ozturk, S.F., Bhowmick, D.K., Kapon, Y. et al. Chirality-induced avalanche magnetization of magnetite by an RNA precursor. Nat Commun 14 , 6351 (2023). Chirality-induced avalanche magnetization of magnetite by an RNA precursor | Nature Communications
Homochirality is a hallmark of life on Earth. To achieve and maintain homochirality within a prebiotic network, the presence of an environmental factor acting as a chiral agent and providing a persistent chiral bias to prebiotic chemistry is highly advantageous. Magnetized surfaces are prebiotically plausible chiral agents due to the chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect, and they were utilized to attain homochiral ribose-aminooxazoline (RAO), an RNA precursor. However, natural magnetic minerals are typically weakly magnetized, necessitating mechanisms to enhance their magnetization for their use as effective chiral agents. Here, we report the magnetization of magnetic surfaces by crystallizing enantiopure RAO, whereby chiral molecules induce a uniform surface magnetization due to the CISS effect, which spreads across the magnetic surface akin to an avalanche. Chirality-induced avalanche magnetization enables a feedback between chiral molecules and magnetic surfaces, which can amplify a weak magnetization and allow for highly efficient spin-selective processes on magnetic minerals.
Yes it is progress. Like much of science it is a small step forward, advancing our knowledge on part of a larger question. This won’t satisfy those Creationists, or they will ignore it, rehashing decades old claims for a few more decades, as usual.
This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.