News FocusChemistry

Does Life's Handedness Come From Within?

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Science  12 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5443, pp. 1282-1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5443.1282

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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA-- So-called left-handed amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins and thus serve as the cornerstone of life, but researchers have been unable to explain how life acquired this bias. Now at the International Symposium on Cluster and Nanostructure Interfaces meeting here 2 weeks ago, a team of researchers from the United States and New Zealand reported preliminary results indicating that its source might lie in the heart of molecules themselves--in the so-called weak force that operates within the nuclei of atoms.