Friday, March 21, 2008

Amino Acids, Proteins

Some of the links on the right connect to pictures of proteins, genes and amino acids. Don't be afraid of the terms--just read what you can and look at the pictures. This blog is here to help you learn the wondrous workings of biology. I will also make links right in the entries so you can use those as you go. You can also click on the pictures in the entries, such as this one of amino acids, to get a better look. I got this list from a Google search, but the page is no longer there.

The amino acids pictured here make up the proteins, which are a large part of our body (the link to proteins shows one example--myoglobin). The proteins need to be in just the right shapes and sizes to do their various jobs . Though there are hundreds of amino acids, only 20 are used in varying sequences to make up the proteins. They are in specific sequence, just like the letters of this sentence are in specific sequence to give it meaning. When I give you a list with the amino acids that make up the proteins, the letter has the abbreviation for one of the amino acids (for example in this post). Each one would have to be substituted into the list to show the whole protein. There are other cell machines which make the amino acids into proteins. We will talk about them in entries to come.
There may be as many as 1 million variations of proteins in the human body. It is amazing to imagine the specific order of 20 amino acids can do so much!

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