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Keywords:

  • amino acids;
  • chemical evolution;
  • chirality;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • serine
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The earliest molecule of life? Chirally selective reactions relevant to the origin of homochiral life are undergone by serine. Chiral exchange between serine, glyceraldehyde, and glucose occurs, favoring the enantiomers (L-serine, D-sugars) present in modern living systems (see picture).