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Biochemistry

biochem
Image from Steve Bowers

Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living things, including the structure and function of biological molecules and the mechanism and products of their reactions.

 
Articles
  • Adenine - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A nucleotide; one of the two purine bases in terragen organic life. In DNA it is paired with thymine, to make the base pair A-T; in RNA paired with uracil to make the pair A-U. It also has several key roles in cellular respiration, as a component of such important molecules as ATP.
  • Aerobic - Text by Stephen Inniss, based on the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    Living or occurring only in the presence of free oxygen. An aerobe is an organism that requires free oxygen. On Old Earth, eukaryotes and many prokaryotes are aerobic.
  • Alkaliphile - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An organism with optimal growth at pH values above 10. A type of extremophile.
  • Amino Acid  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, with additions by Stephen Inniss
    Any of a class of molecules that are combined to form proteins.
  • Anaerobic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Living in the absence of free oxygen; pertaining to or caused by the absence of oxygen. Eogaian planets are characterized by anaerobic conditions. An anaerobe is an organism, such as a bacterium, that does not require free oxygen to live (opposed to aerobe).
  • ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A chemical compound that functions as an energy source for Terragen and a number of other biota, and is also widely employed in bionanotechnology. It has the formula C10H16N5O13P3.
  • ATPase - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An enzyme responsible for converting electrical potential energy from a nanoscale battery into ATP; the molecule used for immediate fuel by virtually all Terragen biological life-forms, and the basis for the bionano molecular motor. Also called "The F0F1 Complex" and "ATP synthase."
  • Biochemist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Scientific profession - sophont who studies biochemistry, or applies that knowledge and techniques in a practical way.
  • Cellulase  - Text by Tony Jones
    The enzyme that breaks down cellulose, one of the most common carbohydrates on planet Earth. No naturally-evolved Earth mammal can digest cellulose, though some (such as cows and other ruminants) have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria which can.
  • Chemosynthesis - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Primary production of organic matter using various substances and chemical reactions instead of light as an energy source; a common phenomenon throughout the galaxy, but rare in terragen ecologies.
  • Enzyme - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A protein that acts as a chemical catalyst in organic lifeforms.
  • Exotic Biochemistry, Alien - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Although Non-Terragen biochemistries are rarer than terrestrial ecologies, they are not uncommon. Cold ammonia or methane ecologies are rarer, while chlorine, neutron star, free space or plasma ecologies are very rare.
  • Hormone - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In carbon-based lifeforms, any of various internally secreted compounds, in terragen animals formed in the endocrine glands, that affect the functions of specific organs or tissues, control growth, and so on. Very important in various branches of biotech, bioengineering, and neogenics. Hormones for example are used to control many biomachines, such as muschines, secretion polyps, and others.
  • Molecular Biology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Branch of biology that deals with organic life on a molecular level. Includes the macromolecular organization within and between the various cell components, knowledge of different types of proteins, the metabolic function of individual cells, differing mechanisms of genetic expression during embryonic development, cell differentiation, and ageing. Molecular Biology goes hand in hand with Gengineering.
  • Non-biodegradable - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Materials that are not broken down by natural microorganisms in the environment; they require special bionano or hylonano or artificial organisms that use the same to be disassembled or recycled.
  • Pandrenaline - Text by Michael Beck
    A synthetic hormone generated by geneered glands, drastically enhances the fight-or-flight response. People with the gland soon become addicted to their own pandrenaline, and will take insane risks or actions to satisfy those urges.
  • Photosynthesis - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Organic conversion of sunlight into stored chemical energy, essential for the proliferation of advanced forms of life. This is a process that has been developed many times by carbon-based life-forms on different planets, and is essential for complex food chains and the proliferation of more advanced forms. Terragen life uses one of the most common variants, but there are many alternatives.
  • Polyols - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Polyhydroxylated compounds such as sugars, sugar alcohols and sugar acids. They are components of nucleic acids, cell membranes and also act as energy sources. Polyols are vital to all known terragen and most xenobiont carbon-based lifeforms. They are occasionally present in some meteors, comets, and Kuiper bodies, in amounts comparable to amino acids. Extraterrestrial processes including photolysis and formaldehyde chemistry account for their origin. It has been shown that these compounds seed EoGaian worlds through asteroid and comet impacts, where they play a role in the origin of life.
  • Purine - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A nitrogen-containing, single-ring, basic compound that occurs in terragen nucleic acids. The purines in DNA and RNA are adenine and guanine.
  • Pyrimidine - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A nitrogen-containing, single-ring, basic compound that occurs in terragen nucleic acids. The pyrimidines in DNA are cytosine and thymine. The pyrimidines in RNA are cytosine and uracil.
  • RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on original from Hypermedia Glossary Of Genetic Terms
    A chemical found in the nucleus and cytoplasm of terragen cells; it plays an important role in protein synthesis and other chemical activities of the cell. The structure of RNA is similar to that of DNA. There are several classes of RNA molecules, including messenger RNA, transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, and other small RNAs, each serving a different purpose. Because of its ability to instruct the rest of the cell what to do, RNA is an important tool in gengineering.
  • rRNA, ribosomal RNA - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A type of RNA found in the ribosomes of Terragen cells.
  • Uracil - Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on Hypermedia Glossary Of Genetic Terms
    A pyrimidine base and constituent of nucleotides and as such one member of the base pair A-U (adenine-uracil). It is normally found in RNA but not DNA.
  • Xenobiochemistry  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Xenobiochemistry is the study of the comparative biochemistry of Terragen, neogen, and xenobiont organisms. This includes alternatives to water as a solvent, alternative photosynthetic processes (xenophotosynthesis), and many other topics.
 
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 05 October 2001.