If you know anything about biochemistry, you know about “Beilstein’s Handbook of Organic Chemistry.” It is a database with 10 million or so data-points that provide pretty much whatever you need to know about any organic compound, according to biochemist Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe (RTB).
“The utility of Beilstein’s Handbook is endless and its applications far-reaching. In fact, Beilstein’s has even served as the inspiration for origin-of-life chemists seeking to make sense of prebiotic chemistry and chemical evolution,” Rana writes in a lengthy November 4 post on TRB’s web site.
“These investigators think that if they can master an approach to prebiotic chemistry called a Beilstein synthesis, then they may well gain key insight into how chemical evolution generated the first life on Earth.”
Yes, you read that right and you will very likely want to read the rest of Rana’s post. It is, as I said above, lengthy, and rather technical at multiple points. Also, I want to make it clear that I’m a journalist, not a biochemist, and so I make no claim to scientific competence.
Even so, this topic is fascinating to me and I suspect that it will be for more than a few people working on the Hill, as well as for anybody interested in knowing more about how we all came to be here. Go here to read the balance of Rana’s post.