Deuterolysis of amino acid precursors: evidence for hydrogen cyanide polymers as protein ancestors

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Science  11 Nov 1977:
Vol. 198, Issue 4317, pp. 622-625
DOI: 10.1126/science.21452


Deuterolysis experiments suggest that hydrogen cyanide polymers rather than aminoacetonitriles are major precursors of alpha-amino acids obtained from spark reactions and other studies on chemical evolution. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the original heteropolypeptides on the earth were synthesized spontaneously from hydrogen cyanide and water without the intervening formation of alpha-amino acids.