Here’s an example of what I am cheekily calling a “new scripture”! It puts a smile on my face, to think of the deep secrets of the universe bringing us closer to God and the divine than any books of “truth”.
Hidden in the fabric of the universe and biology are many facts that take your breath away (well, take mine away).
As part of the shift towards a new model of biology and cosmology I wrote about in my Medicine Beyond, here’s an interesting bit of trivia, except it’s amazing and far from trivial:
Most molecules exist in mirror-image forms, with right and left-handed structure. I’m not talking about spin here, though that too can be bi-directional. I’m talking about molecular structure shapes and what are, essentially, mirror-image forms.
Strangely, life has different preferences for the right or left forms and the other.
We now know the types of molecules that make life possible tend to be exclusively right- or left-handed: the counterpart, is virtually ignored! For example, the sugars that form the basis of RNA and DNA are always right-handed, whereas the amino acids that make proteins are only left-handed in nature. The right-handed forms we prefix with D (for dexter, Latin for right) and the left-handed forms we prefix with L (for the Greek Laevo or left). Hence D-ribose, a heart-friendly sugar, and L-theanine, a nice calming amino acid.
Almost all biological molecules have an inherent “handedness”.
This bias was discovered in 1848 by Louis Pasteur, who called it “chirality”, after the Greek for “handed-ness”. Working with tartaric acid crystals, he saw that some were mirror images of each other. He sorted them into left and right-handed crystals. And when he shone polarised light through them, the light emerged rotating in opposite directions. “There is no doubt,” he wrote, “that there is a grouping of the atoms of an asymmetric type that is not superposable on its mirror image.”
You don’t have to look far to see chirality in your everyday life. Anything that can’t be superimposed on its mirror image fits the bill, with your own hands being the most obvious example. Hold them out, palms facing towards you, and slide one on top of the other. They don’t match, so they’re chiral.
How this bias towards just one side—or homochirality, as it’s known—began and why it has persisted is one of the most baffling questions in biology. The answer is almost as strange as the question!
Is it important? Sure it is! Nature doesn’t waste time on needless stunts.
We have learned that homochirality has an essential role in helping molecules to recognize one another. When amino acids string together to make proteins, say, or molecules need to recognize each other to react or pass on a message within a cell, their handedness determines how their shapes fit together. In that sense, a meeting between wrong-handed molecules would be akin to an awkward handshake between a left and a right hand.
How did life’s building blocks end up single-handed? The short answer is we don’t know. But a satisfactory explanation must not only explain how chirality came about, but why it has persisted over billions of years.
Pasteur sought an explanation for homochirality in magnetism and light but his investigations ultimately failed. However he was close. The answer likely does lie in the electric universe (EU) model. More recently, some chemists have invoked cosmic influences. They have proposed that the initial bias could have been imprinted onto organic molecules by exposure to light (electromagnetism) far out in space, before they hurtled to Earth’s surface onboard a meteorite.
In other words, chirality would be a property of Panspermia! Panspermia is something I wrote about in Medicine Beyond. To many, the evidence is 100% complete, that there is life out there in space and that it continuously rains down organic molecules on Earth, which is probably where life really came from. Yes, a sort of descended-from-Heaven model, if you like.
It always reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song from Woodstock:
We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden…
In the Panspermia model, she’s right!
The starlight model relies on light also having a property akin to handedness: its waves can spiral clockwise or anti-clockwise as they travel. The idea is that in regions of space where the balance tips towards photons with one twist, light could have transferred the same skew onto organic starter molecules as it fell on them.
But it would be difficult to prove. Perhaps the most plausible scenario is one developed by Donna Blackmond at the Scripps Research Institute in California. Building on work showing how to make the genetic molecule RNA, Blackmond and her team demonstrated that spiking the starting mixture with a single-handed amino acid had a knock-on effect on the sugars, generating a surplus of the right-handed versions present in nature (like dominos, all fell in the same direction).
The implication is that life’s handedness was a fluke, a chance imbalance that got into biology almost as a contaminant! “Once you have a process that’s working, it just keeps working,” says Blackman. And that’s the best answer we have: homochirality has been conserved because it works.
Ron Naaman at the Weizmann Institute in Israel has come up with a hypothesis that aspires to offer a fuller explanation of why life is so strictly single-handed.
Naaman began to join the dots when he fired electrons at chiral molecules, particularly DNA. Here he saw how electrons passing through the screw-like length of a right-handed DNA helix are filtered so that most of those which emerge at the other end have the same spin. This wasn’t just a small sway. “It was a huge number,” says Naaman. “It was beyond 60 per cent, which was really surprising.”
The effect, now known as chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS), made big news. And although eyebrows were raised initially, it is no longer in any doubt. “Naaman and others have done a lot of experiments and it always seems to work,” says Dimitar Sasselov, an astrophysicist at Harvard University. Naaman has since demonstrated it in proteins too.
What’s more, Naaman argues that the CISS effect can explain another fundamental aspect of life, namely why biological processes requiring electrons to be shuttled through chains of molecules work so flawlessly (see the section “Electrical Nutrition” in my book MEDICINE BEYOND).
“If this effect explains why the engines of biology work so beautifully, it can tell us why life’s handedness has been conserved,” says Naaman.
So our living cosmos, our electric universe model, seems to have had a great deal to do with the properties of life! Who would have thought it in the old gravity-based “stuff” model?
Nothing blasphemous here! Just a “new scripture” (see below, after my signature)
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
In Times Of Uncertainty…
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Please join us for our “Sunday Meetings”, searching for newer and more plausible “scriptures”. There is so much more to understanding reality than “creation myths”. Myths go back thousands of years and were written by worthy but ignorant men who had never seen a car, or a computer, smartphone, toilet rolls or a television.
What could their view of the world possibly teach us? Not much!
That’s not to say they were wrong about divine origins, but today we know about quantum consciousness, mirror neurons and empathy, oxytocin (the “love” hormone), stress, cortisol, PTSD and the non-material mind model. It’s a whole new world view and it’s smart, instead of pretending science is irrelevant, to find how we can integrate these new discoveries with the world of eternal soul (spirit), love, connectivity and emotional wisdom.
As John Lennon famously wrote (Imagine) we don’t need MORE RELIGION, we need less. Differing myths and the controlling priest classes are very divisive and have led to continuous wars on this planet.
We say ENOUGH! The answers are out there. We just have to bring them into our daily lives. But let’s be quick, because time is fast running out here on earth.
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[SOURCE: Life’s other mystery: Why biology’s building blocks are so lop-sided. New Scientist, issue 3278, published 18 April 2020].