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Question Video: Recalling the Group that Differs Between Amino Acids Biology

There are 20 different amino acids in humans that share a similar basic structure. Which group differs between all amino acids?

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Video Transcript

There are 20 different amino acids in humans that share a similar basic structure. Which group differs between all amino acids?

This question is asking us about amino acids in humans, so let’s discuss the basic structure and function of amino acids to answer this question. Humans have 20 different amino acids that are the building blocks to make up all the proteins in the body.

Each of these amino acids contains the same basic structure, so let’s look at the individual parts. In the center is the central carbon, which bonds to four different chemical structures. The first is a carboxyl group, then a hydrogen, an amino group, and an R group, sometimes called the side chain. The R group is the component of an amino acid that differs between all amino acids. Some R groups are relatively simple like glycine, which contains a hydrogen for its R group, while some are more complex like lysine, which has a hydrocarbon chain that terminates with a charged amino group.

The difference in R groups is what contributes to the complex interactions among amino acids, which causes specific folding of the polypeptide. Now that we’ve reviewed the structure and function of amino acids, we are able to answer our question correctly. The group that differs between all amino acids is the R group.

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