The Art of Basic Science #5

For the fifth installment of this series, I chose a paper from the labs of Donna Blackmond and Alan Aspuru-Guzik in the current issue of ACS Central Science. It deals with the age-old question of how chirality arose in the origins of life, and finds that chiral pentose sugars are capable of tipping the scales toward specific enrichment of L-amino acid precursors. I won't go into the details since that isn't what this series is for, but you can see for yourself here:

Chiral Sugars Drive Enantioenrichment in Prebiotic Amino Acid Synthesis. Alexander J. Wagner, Dmitry Yu. Zabarev, Alan Aspuru-Gusik, and Donna G. Blackmond. ACS Cent. Sci., 2017, 3 (4), pp 322–328.

Rather, it is just meant to be a celebration of basic science, the anything-but-basic folks who dedicate themselves to the craft, and, in this case, open access to it, thanks to journals like ACS Central Science. If you look at it long enough you should see two distinct alpha helices along with ribose, one of the featured (and notably pre-biotically plausible) stars of the show. If you look at it even longer a 3D dolphin will pop out. Oh no wait that's magic eye posters. Never mind.