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Symmetry-breaking in chiral polymerisation

Wattis, Jonathan A.D.; Coveney, Peter V.

Authors

Peter V. Coveney



Abstract

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.

Citation

Wattis, J. A., & Coveney, P. V. Symmetry-breaking in chiral polymerisation. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 35(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2008
Journal Origins of Life and the Evolution of the Biosphere
Electronic ISSN 0169-6149
Publisher Humana Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/927
Related Public URLs http://www.springerlink.com
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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