The chemistry of life's origin: a carbonaceous meteorite perspective

Acc Chem Res. 2006 Apr;39(4):231-7. doi: 10.1021/ar050049f.


Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites are primitive asteroidal fragments that contain organic carbon and offer a glimpse of the abiotic chemical processes that preceded the onset of life. Their organic material displays structures as diverse as kerogen-like macromolecules and simpler soluble compounds that range from polar amino acids and polyols to nonpolar hydrocarbons. Several of these compounds have identical counterparts in terrestrial biomolecules and some of the amino acids show a unique l-asymmetry, suggesting their possible contribution to terrestrial molecular evolution and the origin of biological homochirality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Evolution, Chemical*
  • Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Meteoroids*
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Origin of Life*


  • Amino Acids
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Organic Chemicals