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The trypt from the crypt

The situation and location of the origin of life is a matter of contention and a great deal of speculation. Here, Bénédicte Ménez and colleagues present evidence that aromatic amino acids (specifically tryptophan) can form abiotically and in a natural situation—outside a laboratory. They were formed and subsequently preserved at depth beneath the Atlantis Massif of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Demonstrating the potential of fluid-rock interactions in the oceanic lithosphere to generate primordial amino acids lends support to the idea that life might have originated in deep hydrothermal vents.

Nature 564, 7734 table of contents

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