The Role of Glyoxylic Acid in the Chemistry of the Origin of Life

By Butch, Christopher J.

Georgia Institute of Technology

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Abstract

Advisors: Charles L. Liotta, Charles A. Eckert, Thomas Orlando, Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, David S. Sholl, Facundo M. Fernandez

I present detailed mechanistic analysis on the chemistry of glyoxylate as it pertains to forming biologically relevant molecules on the Hadean Earth. Chemistry covered includes: 1) the dimerization of glyoxylate to form dihydroxyfumarate(DHF), a heretofore unknown reaction, important to substantiating Eschenmoser's glyoxylate scenario. 2) Formation of sugars from polymerization of glyoxylate. 3) Formation of tartrate and sugar acids from high pH reactions of DHF. 4) Formation of glycine polypeptides from glyoxylate by transamination and coupling promoted by hexamethylenetetramine. 5) Formation of glyoxylate under conditions which could be plausibly found on the early earth.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Butch, Christopher J. (2016), "The Role of Glyoxylic Acid in the Chemistry of the Origin of Life," https://matin.gatech.edu/resources/2808.

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