BiologicalMolecules160-page1

BiologicalMolecules160-page1 - nucleic acids, our vitamins...

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Biological Molecules - 1 Molecules of Living Organisms We have mentioned that all organisms, from bacteria to Douglas fir trees to humans share a common molecular structure; it's part of the unity of life. The cells and tissues of virtually all organisms are made up of the same basic molecules. Many of these are substances with which we are familiar: our carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and the nucleic acids. These molecules are all compounds with a "backbone" or "skeleton" of carbon, or more specifically carbon–hydrogen molecules, which are called hydrocarbons. The incredible versatility of carbon accounts for the multitude of different organic molecules, built from the common backbones, which are found in different kinds of organisms. In chemistry, molecules with a backbone of carbon that also contain hydrogen are called organic molecules. The other atoms and molecules necessary for life are inorganic. Besides carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and
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Unformatted text preview: nucleic acids, our vitamins are considered to be organic. (Water, oxygen, carbon dioxide and the minerals needed to sustain life are inorganic.) Our organic compounds are responsible for such things as: Fuel (energy to do cell work and keep us alive) Structure Metabolism Fuel Storage Genetic Information Before understanding the structure of the major groups of compounds of living organisms, we should first study the element, carbon, what a hydrocarbon is, and also study the molecules called functional groups, which bond to hydrocarbons, altering the chemical nature of the resulting compound. Properties of Carbon Carbon is one of the atoms (elements) that forms covalent bonds (joins with other atoms) to become stable. Each carbon atom makes 4 bonds Carbon may make bonds with other carbon atoms forming chains, branching chains or rings of linked carbon atoms....
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