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Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms.[1] A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry may be divided into three fields: structural biology, enzymology and metabolism. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has become successful at explaining living processes through these three disciplines. Almost all areas of the life sciences are being uncovered and developed through biochemical methodology and research.[2] Biochemistry focuses on understanding the chemical basis which allows biological molecules to give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells,[3] in turn relating greatly to the understanding of tissues and organs, as well as organism structure and function.[4] Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology which is the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.[5]

Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions, and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. They provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.[6] The chemistry of the cell also depends upon the reactions of small molecules and ions. These can be inorganic (for example, water and metal ions) or organic (for example, the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins).[7] The mechanisms used by cells to harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicine, nutrition and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases.[8] Nutrition studies how to maintain health and wellness and also the effects of nutritional deficiencies.[9] In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers. Improving crop cultivation, crop storage, and pest control are also goals.

History

Gerty Cori and Carl Cori jointly won the Nobel Prize in 1947 for their discovery of the Cori cycle at RPMI.

At its most comprehensive definition, biochemistry can be seen as a study of the components and composition of living things and how they come together to become life. In this sense, the history of biochemistry may therefore go back as far as the ancient Greeks.[10] However, biochemistry as a specific scientific discipline began sometime in the 19th century, or a little earlier, depending on which aspect of biochemistry is being focused on. Some argued that the beginning of biochemistry may have been the discovery of the first enzyme, diastase (now called amylase), in 1833 by Anselme Payen,[11] while others considered Eduard Buchner's first demonstration of a complex biochemical process alcoholic fermentation in cell-free extracts in 1897 to be the birth of biochemistry.[12][13] Some might also point as its beginning to the influential 1842 work by Justus von Liebig, Animal chemistry, or, Organic chemistry in its applications to physiology and pathology, which presented a chemical theory of metabolism,[10] or even earlier to the 18th century studies on fermentation and respiration by Antoine Lavoisier.[14][15] Many other pioneers in the field who helped to uncover the layers of complexity of biochemistry have been proclaimed founders of modern biochemistry. Emil Fischer, who studied the chemistry of proteins,[16] and F. Gowland Hopkins, who studied enzymes and the dynamic nature of biochemistry, represent two examples of early biochemists.macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. They provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.[6] The chemistry of the cell also depends upon the reactions of small molecules and ions. These can be inorganic (for example, water and metal ions) or organic (for example, the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins).[7] The mechanisms used by cells to harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicine, nutrition and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases.[8] Nutrition studies how to maintain health and wellness and also the effects of nutritional deficiencies.[9] In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers. Improving crop cultivation, crop storage, and pest control are also goals.

At its most comprehensive definition, biochemistry can be seen as a study of the components and composition of living things and how they come together to become life. In this sense, the history of biochemistry may therefore go back as far as the ancient Greeks.[10] However, biochemistry as a specific scientific discipline began sometime in the 19th century, or a little earlier, depending on which aspect of biochemistry is being focused on. Some argued that the beginning of biochemistry may have been the discovery of the first enzyme, diastase (now called amylase), in 1833 by Anselme Payen,[11] while others considered Eduard Buchner's first demonstration of a complex biochemical process alcoholic fermentation in cell-free extracts in 1897 to be the birth of biochemistry.[12][13] Some might also point as its beginning to the influential 1842 work by Justus von Liebig, Animal chemistry, or, Organic chemistry in its applications to physiology and pathology, which presented a chemical theory of metabolism,[10] or even earlier to the 18th century studies on fermentation and respiration by Antoine Lavoisier.[14][15] Many other pioneers in the field who helped to uncover the layers of complexity of biochemistry have been proclaimed founders of modern biochemistry. Emil Fischer, who studied the chemistry of proteins,[16] and F. Gowland Hopkins, who studied enzymes and the dynamic nature of biochemistry, represent two examples of early biochemists.[17]

The term "biochemistry" itself is derived from a combination of biology and chemistry. In 1877, Felix Hoppe-Seyler used the term (biochemie in German) as a synonym for physiological chemistry in the foreword to the first issue of Zeitschrift für Physiologische Chemie (Journal of Physiological Chemistry) where he argued for the setting up of institutes dedicated to this field of study.[18][19] The German chemist Carl Neuberg however is often cited to have coined the word in 1903,[20][21][22] while some credited it to Franz Hofmeister.[23]

DNA structure (1D65​)[24]

It was once generally believed that life and its materials had some essential property or substance (often referred to as the "vital principle") distinct from any found in non-living matter, and it was thought that only living beings could produce the molecules of life.[25] Then, in 1828, Friedrich Wöhler published a paper on the synthesis of urea, proving that organic compounds can be created artificially.[26] Since then, biochemistry has advanced, especially since the mid-20th century, with the development of new techniques such as chromatography, X-ray diffraction, dual polarisation interferometry, NMR spectroscopy, radioisotopic labeling, electron microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. These techniques allowed for the discovery and detailed analysis of many molecules and metabolic pathways of the cell, such as glycolysis and the Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle), and led to an understanding of biochemistry on a molecular level.

Another significant historic event in biochemistry is the discovery of the gene, and its role in the transfer of information in the cell. In the 1950s, James D. Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins were instrumental in solving DNA structure and suggesting its relationship with the genetic transfer of information.[27] In 1958, George Beadle and Edward Tatum received the

The term "biochemistry" itself is derived from a combination of biology and chemistry. In 1877, Felix Hoppe-Seyler used the term (biochemie in German) as a synonym for physiological chemistry in the foreword to the first issue of Zeitschrift für Physiologische Chemie (Journal of Physiological Chemistry) where he argued for the setting up of institutes dedicated to this field of study.[18][19] The German chemist Carl Neuberg however is often cited to have coined the word in 1903,[20][21][22] while some credited it to Franz Hofmeister.[23]

It was once generally believed that life and its materials had some essential property or substance (often referred to as the "vital principle") distinct from any found in non-living matter, and it was thought that only living beings could produce the molecules of life.[25] Then, in 1828, Friedrich Wöhler published a paper on the synthesis of urea, proving that organic compounds can be created artificially.[26] Since then, biochemistry has advanced, especially since the mid-20th century, with the development of new techniques such as chromatography, X-ray diffraction, dual polarisation interferometry, NMR spectroscopy, radioisotopic labeling, electron microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. These techniques allowed for the discovery and detailed analysis of many molecules and metabolic pathways of the cell, such as glycolysis and the Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle), and led to an understanding of biochemistry on a molecular level.

Another significant historic event in biochemistry is the discovery of the gene, and its role in the transfer of information in the cell. In the 1950s, James D. Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins were instrumental in solving DNA structure and suggesting its relationship with the genetic transfer of information.[27] In 1958, George Beadle and Edward Tatum received the Nobe

Another significant historic event in biochemistry is the discovery of the gene, and its role in the transfer of information in the cell. In the 1950s, James D. Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins were instrumental in solving DNA structure and suggesting its relationship with the genetic transfer of information.[27] In 1958, George Beadle and Edward Tatum received the Nobel Prize for work in fungi showing that one gene produces one enzyme.[28] In 1988, Colin Pitchfork was the first person convicted of murder with DNA evidence, which led to the growth of forensic science.[29] More recently, Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello received the 2006 Nobel Prize for discovering the role of RNA interference (RNAi), in the silencing of gene expression.[30]

Around two dozen chemical elements are essential to various kinds of biological life. Most rare elements on Earth are not needed by life (exceptions being selenium and iodine)[citation needed], while a few common ones (aluminum and titanium) are not used. Most organisms share element needs, but there are a few differences between plants and animals. For example, ocean algae use bromine, but land plants and animals seem to need none. All animals require sodium, but some plants do not. Plants need boron and silicon, but animals may not (or may need ultra-small amounts).

Just six elements—carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, calcium and phosphorus—make up almost 99% of the mass of living cells, including those in the human body (see composition of the human body for a complete list). In addition to the six major elements that compose most of the human body, humans require smaller amounts of possibly 18 more.[31]

Biomolecules

The four main classes of molecules in biochemistry (often called biomolecules) are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, calcium and phosphorus—make up almost 99% of the mass of living cells, including those in the human body (see composition of the human body for a complete list). In addition to the six major elements that compose most of the human body, humans require smaller amounts of possibly 18 more.[31]

The four main classes of molecules in biochemistry (often called biomolecules) are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.[32] Many biological molecules are polymers: in this terminology, monomers are relatively small macromolecules that are linked together to create large macromolecules known as polymers. When monomers are linked together to synthesize a biological polymer, they undergo a process called dehydration synthesis. Different macromolecules can assemble in larger complexes, often needed for biological activity.

Carbohydrates