York research gives origins of life clues

Researches at the University of York have made significant progress in understanding how the necessary conditions for life may have been possible.

The research led by Dr Paul Clarke of the Chemistry Department, re-created a chemical process which is expected to have occurred in the pre-biotic world. The investigation looked at the relationship between amino acids and the formation of sugars,finding that the use of the former to catalyse the production of sugars can explain the origin of carbohydrates; necessary building blocks of Life.

Dr Paul Clarke explained the significance of the research: “For Life to have evolved, all of the building blocks of Life must have been present on the prebiotic Earth. This research provides one possible explanation for how certain sugars [threose and erythrose]could have been present on the prebiotic Earth and be available to form the molecules suspected of leading to early Life.”

Dr Clarke suggested that this research may explain the relationship between the ‘‘handedness’ of natural amino acids and natural sugars.”