September 2003


The detection of interstellar glycine, the simplest amino acid, was reported in 2003 by Kuan et al. It was identified via 27 milimeter-wave lines. If the detection is confirmed, it may hold great significance for astrobiology.

Jan 2005 – A rebuttal paper by Snyder et al. disputed the detection of interstellar glycine.

Apr 2007 – Additional studies by Jones et al. and Cunningham et al. also call into question the conclusions of Kuan et al.

Two laboratory studies have created small amino acids by applying ultraviolet light to an ice that includes a few simple molecules: water, methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide.

Amino acids consist of an -NH2 amine group and -COOH carboxylic acid group. When an amino acid is placed in water, it changed from being neutral to have two offsetting charge centers. The acid group looses its H and becomes negative, while the basic amine group accept a proton and become positive. This is known as a zwitterion. A peptide bond can form by coupling amino acids across these acid and base sites, a form of polymerization that accounts for protein and enzyme structure.

Jun 2014 – Glycine has been moved from the list of detected molecules to the Non-Detections page.

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Maintained by DE Woon
Links verified / updated 28 September 2016