Elongation of Oligopeptides in a Simulated Submarine Hydrothermal System

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Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 831-833
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.831

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Oligomerization of a peptide was attempted in a flow reactor that simulated a submarine hydrothermal system. When fluid containing glycine repeatedly circulated through the hot and cold regions in the reactor, oligopeptides were made from glycine. When divalent ions (such as copper ions) were added under acidic conditions, oligoglycine was elongated up to hexaglycine. This observation suggests that prebiotic monomers could have oligomerized in the vicinity of submarine hydrothermal vents on primitive Earth.

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