We propose a model for chiral polymerisation and investigate
its symmetric and asymmetric solutions. The model has a source
species which decays into left- and right-handed types of monomer,
each of which can polymerise to form homochiral chains;
these chains are susceptible to `poisoning' by the opposite handed
monomer. Homochiral polymers are assumed to influence the
proportion of each type of monomer formed from the precursor.
We show that for certain parameter values a positive feedback
mechanism makes the symmetric steady-state solution unstable.
The kinetics of polymer formation are then analysed in the case
where the system starts from zero concentrations of monomers
and chains. We show that following a long induction time, extremely
large concentrations of polymers are
formed for a short time, during this time an asymmetry
introduced into the system by a random external perturbation
may be massively amplified. The system then approaches one
of the steady-state solutions described above.
Wattis, J. A., & Coveney, P. V. Symmetry-breaking in chiral polymerisation. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 35(3),