Amino-acids are organic acids with an amino group in the alpha position (alpha-acids). They are the structural units of proteins and involved in many biochemical pathways.

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Why 22 amino acids instead of 64?

This question got me thinking about amino acids and the ambiguity in the genetic code. With 4 nucleotides in RNA and 3 per codon, there are 64 codons. However, these 64 codons only code for 22 (...
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Why are amino acids in biology homochiral?

Why are nearly all amino acids in organisms left-handed (exception is glycine which has no isomer) when abiotic samples typical have an even mix of left- and right-handed molecules?
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What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?

Is there any hypothesis on the minimum number of amino acids required for life?
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Histidine aromaticity

I understand that the imidazole ring in histidine is aromatic. I also realize that it retains it's aromaticity when protonated. I am wondering why it is not mentioned at all in basic text books such ...
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Why are 3 nucleotides used as codons for amino-acid mapping in DNA?

DNA is made of 4 unique nucleotides. When coding for a protein, a sequence of 3 nucleotides is used to code for each amino acid. Why are codons 3 nucleotides in length? A related question can be ...
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Are there any effects of elevated Cysteine levels on cognitive function?

I'm looking at this diagram of homocysteine metabolism and see two distinct pathways that the amino acid may get metabolized to: with vitamin B12 it gets converted back into methionine, while with B6 ...
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How does beta branching stop alpha helices from forming?

I am told that beta branching interferes with alpha helix formation. Problem is that I don't see how beta branching has anything to do with alpha-helix formation. Beta-branches are on the outside of ...
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Needleman Algorithm for Optimal Alignment of two Amino Acid Sequences

I want to compute the optimal alignment of two amino acid sequences as per the following definition from a patent: "The percentage of identity between two peptidic or nucleotidic sequences is a ...
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Why do three nucleotides code for one amino acid? Why not 5 nucleotides? [duplicate]

We all know why there are 3-base codons, and why there aren't any 2-base codons. But why is there not a 4-base a 5-base codon?