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A wet-dry scenario in a prebiotic hot spring or tidal pool. A) shows the pool with the five kinds of alpha hydroxy acids used in this study. B) shows the drying pool where a "library" of polyesters, depicted as the inset high-resolution mass spectra) forms at the drying edges. This simple formation of polyesters could have played a role in scaffolding the origins of life. ©Kuhan Chandru

Simple chemical process that may have led to the origin of life on Earth

Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, has demonstrated that reactions of alpha-hydroxy acids, like the alpha-amino acids that make up modern proteins, shape...