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Article Review(Mirror Molecules) - Essay Example

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Name: Class Section: Name of Publication: Scientific American Date of Publication: May, 2013 Name of Article: Mirror Molecules Page Numbers of Article: 78-81 Name of the Author: Sarah Everts Synopsis of the Article The article “Mirror Molecules” by Sarah Everts discusses the recent developments in the scientific understanding of the dominance of left-handed amino acids as the rule in the general make-up of protein in all living organisms…
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Download file to see previous pages L from its name L-amino acids is actually a derivative of ‘laevus’ which means left in Latin while D in D-amino acids is from ‘dexter’ which means right in Latin (Everts, par.5). This substance had only been of significant regard in bacteria. The D-amino acid is considered to be the mirror image of L-amino acid and their mismatch made scientists conclude it was an irrelevant component until recently. There are two theories explaining the prevalence of left-hand amino acids over their right-handed counterparts. The first is based on the argument that it was simply providence that the chemical entities that developed first utilized L-amino acids instead of D-amino acids. Robert Hazen, a geophysicist and an origins-of-life authority from George Mason University, suggests that they were “grandfathered in” and, thus, initiated the partiality (ibid). ...
This indicates the catapulting of left-handed amino acids as the prevailing variation simply by derivation and the consequent years of adherence to this belief. The significant challenging of this rule started in the 1990s when it was found that right-handed amino acids actually play a vital role in the human brain as transmitters. Then by 2002, the discovery of platypus poison with right-handed amino acids was discovered by Philip Kuchel. The year of 2009 was also a pivotal point in the new discovery as “researchers at Harvard and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute reported that several D-amino acids performed new and unexpected functions in bacterial cell walls” (ibid, par.7). Furthermore, D-amino acids have seen imperative advances in understanding their role in human beings. To illustrate, D-aspartate is an important component in the development of the brain while D-serine combines with L-amino acid glutamate to produce synaptic plasticity which is an element of developing memories. The level of right-handed amino acids also has a correlation in certain disorders as researchers have found out. Too little D-serine can be attributed to schizophrenia whereas too much of it can be threatening with a stroke for patients. As a result, studies have been conducted by pharmaceutical companies to address these issues in the hope of developing new cures for these ailments. An important factor in these studies is the benchmark proposition that the body through the brain cells does not actually build D-serine out of nothing, but it creates an enzyme that turns the L-amino acid into the kind of D-amino acid that it needs. Another important use of D-amino acids that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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