Holding a mirror to life’s key molecules

Illustration of chemical molecules superimposed over sketched hands.

Enlarge / The left- and right-handed types of an amino acid. Each dwelling factor makes use of the left-handed type completely. (credit score: Wikimedia Commons)

The central dogma of molecular biology holds that DNA will get transcribed into RNA, which then will get translated into proteins. After all, there are exceptions—some viruses, like coronaviruses, forego DNA altogether and encode their genetic data in RNA genomes. Different viruses, like HIV, have RNA genomes that should be copied into DNA after which transcribed again into RNA earlier than being made into proteins. However as a basic rule, “DNA to RNA to protein” describes how data strikes inside cells.

A singular property of organic molecules is that they’ve handedness. Naturally occurring molecules happen in roughly equal mixtures of left- and right-handed varieties. Which means molecules can have similar atoms and shapes however can’t be superimposed one upon the opposite. As a substitute, they’re mirror photos of one another, like our proper and left palms.

(This may be troublesome to examine, which is why pre-meds taking natural chemistry in faculty spend a lot time enjoying with these ball-and-stick molecular fashions.)

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