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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reactions of aminomalononitrile with electrophiles.

Aminomalononitrile (HCN trimer) reacts with electrophiles such as aldehydes and acrylonitrile under very mild conditions of temperature and pH to produce intermediates which, after acid hydrolysis, yield amino acids. The following amino acids have been identified and quantitated: glycine, D, L-erythro- and D, L-threo-beta - hydroxyaspartic acids, D, L glutamic acid, and D, L-threonine and allo-threonine. The mechanism of their formation and the possible significance of these reactions in prebiotic syntheses are discussed.[1]


  1. Reactions of aminomalononitrile with electrophiles. Thanassi, J.W. J. Mol. Evol. (1975) [Pubmed]
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