Supernovae, Neutrinos, and the Chirality of the Amino Acids
A mechanism for creating an enantioenrichment in the amino acids, the building blocks of the proteins, that involves global selection of one handedness by interactions between the amino acids and neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae is described. The chiral selection involves the dependence of the interaction cross sections on the orientations of the spins of the neutrinos and the 14N nuclei in the amino acids, or in precursor molecules, which in turn couple to the molecular chirality. It also requires an asymmetric distribution of neutrinos emitted from the supernova. The subsequent chemical evolution and galactic mixing would ultimately populate the Galaxy with the selected species. The resulting amino acids could either be the source thereof on Earth, or could have triggered the chirality that was ultimately achieved for Earth's proteinaceous amino acids.