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Question
Biology
Posted 2 months ago
If amino acids are made up of the same parts, what portion gives them unique properties?
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Answer from Sia
Posted 2 months ago
Answer
The unique properties of amino acids are determined by their side chains, also known as R groups.
Solution
a
Structure of Amino Acids: All amino acids have a central carbon atom (α-carbon) bonded to four groups: an amino group (NH₂), a carboxyl group (COOH), a hydrogen atom (H), and a variable side chain (R group)
b
R Group: The R group, or side chain, is what differentiates one amino acid from another. It can vary in size, shape, charge, hydrophobicity, and reactivity
c
Properties: The chemical nature of the R group determines the unique properties of each amino acid, such as whether it is polar or nonpolar, acidic or basic, and how it interacts with other molecules
Key Concept
R groups (side chains) of amino acids
Explanation
The R group attached to the central carbon atom of an amino acid is what gives each amino acid its unique properties. These side chains can be as simple as a hydrogen atom (as in glycine) or as complex as a ring structure (as in tryptophan). The diversity in R groups allows proteins to have a wide range of structures and functions.

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