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GLOSSARY & ABBREVIATIONS

Amino acid

Molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side chain that varies between different amino acids

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Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side chain that varies between different amino acids. These molecules contain the key elements of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. These molecules are particularly important in biochemistry, where this term refers to alpha-amino acids with the general formula H2NCHRCOOH, where R is an organic substituent.[1] In an alpha amino acid, the amino and carboxylate groups are attached to the same carbon atom, which is called the a–carbon. The various alpha amino acids differ in which side chain (R group) is attached to their alpha carbon. These side chains can vary in size from just a hydrogen atom in glycine, to a methyl group in alanine, through to a large heterocyclic group in tryptophan.

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