On the physical origin of biological handedness

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In the racemic conglomerate crystallization of over 1000 samples of D, L-sodium-ammonium tartrate the effect of32P beta irradiation on the weight, optical activity, and crystallite size was measured. Both weight and optical activity showed a statistical dependence on the intensity of beta irradiation. The crystallite size is also affected by the presence of32P. Asymmetric crystals are suggested to have been potential mediators between asymmetric parity violating forces and molecular asymmetry so that stereo-selective prebiotic chemical reactions involving crystals need not be considered 'chance' processes. No measurable difference in the energy content of optical isomers was found. An upper limit for the direct contribution of weak interactions to electromagnetic ones has been calculated. The mechanism of stereoselective crystal seeding by beta particles is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-233
Number of pages15
JournalOrigins of Life
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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