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March 10 2013

Comet strikes may have jump-started life on Earth


Life's building blocks can form in the harsh environment of deep space, a new study suggests, bolstering the odds that a comet or meteorite strike may have jump-started biological evolution on Earth.

Linked pairs of amino acids called dipeptides can take shape in spacelike conditions, a team of chemists found. Dipeptides brought to Earth aboard a comet or meteorite billions of years ago may have then catalyzed the formation of even more complex molecules necessary for life as we know it, such as proteins and sugars, researchers said.

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