The study of chemistry within the scope of biology: the compounds that occur and the reactions involving them in living organisms.

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43
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4answers
5k views

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 ...
13
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3answers
1k views

What implications has the missing 2'-OH on the capability of DNA to form 3D structures?

The chemical difference between RNA and DNA is the missing 2'-hydroxyl group in the nucleotides that build DNA. The major effect of that change that I know of is the higher stability of DNA compared ...
9
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2answers
307 views

Why does Hunger lead to the aggressive behavior?

I have observed that frequently when people are hungry; they tend to get angry more easily on pointless issues. Does this mean that our fight or flight response is more active when a person is hungry? ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Why are there exactly four nucleobases in DNA?

Does someone know why DNA is composed of four nucleobases? In particular, is there an explanation for the number? Why four and not two, or eight?
5
votes
1answer
272 views

What causes humans to be sleepy?

Is there a hormone or group of hormones that regulates when we feel sleepy late at night, or in the morning? Or is sleepiness caused by some other non-hormonal mechanism? (e.g. pure psychological, ...
1
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1answer
39 views

Influence of temperature on protein binding and decay rates

For computer modeling purposes, I am looking for some referenced quantitative measurements of the effect(s) of temperature on the dynamic of biochemical reactions. Question In particular, my ...
50
votes
3answers
25k views

Why is uracil used in RNA rather than thymine?

What is the advantage gained by the substitution of thymine with uracil? I have read previously that it is due to thymine being "better protected" and therefore more suited to the storage role of ...
32
votes
4answers
15k views

Death because of distilled water consumption

One of my friends said that I would die if I drank distilled water (we were using it in a chemistry experiment) I gave it a go and surprisingly did not die. I did a bit of Googling and found this ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Why does hair turn grey or white, and why does it happen later for some?

The question is pretty simple: what is happening molecularly when hair turns grey or white? I would imagine that it is due to the lack of a particular compound. I'm also interested in why some ...
6
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1answer
147 views

What exactly makes bananas go brown?

I know that often oxidation processes are mentioned when referring to the color change from yellow to brown in bananas (specifically: those that you get everywhere in supermarkets, with no seeds). ...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

What is the molecular basis of hangovers?

Well, most of us have experienced the wonderful feeling of the dreaded hangover. How does it work exactly? I imagine it has something to do with dehydration but what are the underlying mechanisms? ...
9
votes
1answer
291 views

Does DNA react in all of the ways most other acids do?

As I understand it from my basic chemistry, there are some fundamental reactions that exist between any acid and other substances for example acid-base reactions that form a salt, and the existence of ...
4
votes
2answers
356 views

In biosynthesis of cysteine and methionine, where does the sulfur come from?

Methionine and Cysteine are the two amino acids containing sulfur. According to wikipedia, cysteine is built from methionine. However, the wikipedia also claims that methionine is synthesized from ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

What is the film that covers the tongue?

What is the film that covers the tongue in the mornings, even after brushing the teeth and tongue the night before and why does it have color variations? Do the different colors mean anything?
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Humidity for wood rotting

If I put a piece of wood in a humid environment (basically humid air), it will start to rot. Does the humidity influence the rotting speed, and if so, what is the relation between the rotting speed ...
2
votes
1answer
326 views

Is there any advantage of having a mitochondria for aerobic respiration?

If we consider the pathway of breakdown of glucose which includes glycolysis, the citric acid cycle and the electron transport chain, all these processes takes place in some prokaryotes and ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Formation of ammonia from air and moisture

On extended bicycle trips I sometimes slept under a plastic sheet, which helped with mosquitoes on hot nights. But there was a noticeable build-up of ammonia which made this almost impossible for more ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

How is the rate of transcription influenced by temperature?

How is the rate of transcription influenced by temperature? More precisely, I am looking for an article who quantitatively measured the rate of transcription of an "average gene" and show how this ...
32
votes
4answers
1k views

Can scientists create totally synthetic life?

This particular question has been of a great deal of interest to me, especially since it dives at the heart of abiogenesis.
19
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1answer
251 views

Evolutionary origin and exogenous cues of ~28 day infradian rhythm?

The most obvious example of an approximately monthly biological cycle is the human menstrual cycle. My questions are the following: Is it known when and where this cycle or one like it arose? What ...
20
votes
1answer
482 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is glucose our primary source of energy?

Is there any evolutionary reason for glucose being the "main" molecule used as a source of energy, beginning with glycolysis and subsequently cellular respiration (after being converted to two ...
9
votes
2answers
128 views

What role does a protein's size have on protein-protein interactions?

Protein-protein interactions are when two or more proteins bind together, possibly for some important biological function. Recently, I'm starting to look more into proteins, and in particular, ...
2
votes
1answer
190 views

What can cause the bloating in high protein diet of Whey proteins?

I am thinking what can cause the swelling of gastrointestinal system i.e. bloating after high protein diet of Whey proteins. Liver does breaks those proteins to branched chain amino acids (BCAA), ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Where does the 'C' in exhaled CO2 mostly come from?

When a human being exhales $CO_2$, what is, by the numbers, the main source of carbon atoms exiting the body in this way? I mean what class of cells, or which tissues are the biggest on a pie chart of ...
6
votes
1answer
897 views

Why does the heart use lipids (and not glucose)?

Fetal hearts use glucose as their primary metabolic substrate. Adult hearts use free fatty acids, which are less efficient (require more $O_2$ to synthesize the same amount of ATP); however, during ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
6
votes
1answer
185 views

Decreasing the alcohol proof and faster in hangover, why?

My russian friend says that the USSR agents used/use the trick that they offered the victim first vodka and then last wine. I have noted that this puts you faster to hangover: decreasing the alcohol ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

Effect of testosterone hormone on cell signalling and behaviour?

A steroid, testosterone was injected in female body which led to development of secondary sexual characters but these characters were not developed over night (Response was very slow). What could be ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

enzymes that stabilize DNA loops

As a follow-up of a previous question, I would like to know what enzymes or protein complexes have been used to manipulate DNA samples into stabilizing DNA loops. I have read that cohesin is one of ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Few innervations to blood sugar regulation

Assume you have a case of young female where the intake of 75 grams of pure sugar leads to a rapid peak of blood glucose level (within seconds) plateau phase with very steady blood glucose level ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

What does the human body use oxygen for besides the final electron acceptor in the electron transport chain?

My biology teachers never explained why animals need to breathe oxygen, just that we organisms die if we don't get oxygen for too long. Maybe one of them happened to mention that its used to make ATP. ...
13
votes
2answers
804 views

Is the EC50 of an activating protein for an enzyme a good indicator for the binding affinity Kd?

We work with a membrane protein system where measuring the affinity between the enzyme and the upstream activating protein has been difficult, and when measured in detergent solution, it is almost 100 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How does a plant grow before photosynthesis is possible?

During photosynthesis, a plant translates CO2, water and light into O2. I assume the carbon C is further used for the growing process. I wonder how the plant grows before the time where photosynthesis ...
10
votes
1answer
519 views

How do I get the current “camera position” in PyMol so I can reuse it in scripts?

I have a few protein models I want to take pictures of with various ligands bound. It would be nice if I could do it from the same "position", but the only way I can figure out to repeat the same ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Why is GTP gamma S non hydrolyzable?

GTP gamma S is routinely used in studies of G proteins to stably activate the G protein. Comparing the structures of GTP gamma S and GTP, the Sulphur atom replaces the Oxygen attached to the leaving ...
8
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2answers
1k views

why is AUG the initiation codon?

Is there any reason why AUG is the initiation codon ? Why is there a need for an initiation codon ? Can't translation start with different codons?
6
votes
2answers
610 views

For how long and how cold should I perform ethanol/isopropanol precipitations of RNA or DNA?

Precipitating nucleic acids using either isopropanol or ethanol is a very common operation, and I've read some very different protocols on the duration and temperature the precipitation should be ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Scale up of Bacterial growth from 250mL to 1-5L?

I am currently growing up a specific strain of E.Coli with a knockout in 40mL of growth medium (LB) in a 250mL shaker flask... My ultimate goal is to scale up this process to a 1-5L large scale setup ...
5
votes
3answers
126 views

Finding a template/oligo combination for my first PCR experiment

I'm an information technology engineer. I love biology so I research biological topics and have an interest in PCR. That's why I have decided to create a PCR machine. Everything is done now and I ...
4
votes
1answer
47 views

Influence of temperature on transcription, protein binding and decay rates

I am the kind of biologist who doesn't know much about molecular genetics and about the dynamic of biochemical reactions. Question My question concerns the influence of temperature on the dynamic of ...
4
votes
2answers
246 views

Are there dangers to Teflon and aluminium cookware?

I've been reading some articles on the internet about dangers of Teflon and aluminium to the body. My family say I'm just exaggerating the situation, and maybe I am, though I'm not sure because not ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Does mixing alcoholic drinks really make you more drunk?

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence ("beer after wine and you'll feel fine, wine after beer will make you feel queer") that mixing alcoholic drink types leads to a stronger effect, but I can't find ...
3
votes
3answers
87 views

Why can't you just take a vitamin? Why you need a healthy diet on top of that?

From what I understand, your body needs certain amounts of vitamins and minerals to maintain health. Why can't we just take enough pills to obtain these vitamins and minerals?
3
votes
1answer
281 views

Is there an optimal composition and length for protein linkers in FRET?

I'm designing a protein that I'd like to use in FRET reporting. General idea on the shape is: FRETprotein1--Linker--CleavageSite--Linker--FRETprotein2. I would like to know what AA are best for the ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

Are similar smells usually based on similar chemicals?

Building off of this question: Why does freshly cut grass smell like a watermelon?, is it usually the case that things that we perceive as having similar smells are, in fact, the same or a similar ...
3
votes
2answers
430 views

Why does Glutamine have the symbol Q?

Spent a half hour googling this and the best I could find was this: Now for some rhymes: Arginine = R. R we having fun yet? Asparagine = N The kNights of Ne say "Ne". Glutamine is a cute ...
2
votes
1answer
548 views

Isopropanol precipitation of DNA - duration and magnitude of cold storage

DNA prep protocols often include a final precipitation step with alcohol, often isopropanol, where the DNA must be kept in the alcohol, at a low temperature such as -20C or -70C, often overnight. ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Plants without bacteria? is it theoretically possible?

I know from school, that all live on the Earth need bacteria as low-level "machines" that break down/extract/convert/produce chemical elements and combinations, other high-level organisms needed. But ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Can the sulphur content of biological material be reliably calculated from fat, fibre and protein contents (Weender Analysis)?

An often-used analysis of feedstocks for lifestocks is the Weender analysis, which basically divides the volatile solid content into fats, fibre and protein, as well as N-free matter. I found no ...