Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Metabolism

In discussing the chemistry of the human body, the media features many important substances. Take water. We are told how important it is to drink lots of water. Our body cells do consist, after all, of about 60% water. And we repeatedly hear of DNA, cholesterol, free radicals, omega fatty-acids, trans fat and sodium. Yet, there is one essential compound that is seldom mentioned... adenosine triphosphate, acronym ATP. Have you heard-tell of ATP? No? Yet it is remarkably important – you could not exist without it. Besides, even if you could, the energy you'd need to function would be totally unavailable. ATP - What Is It? ATP, on examination (see image) is one molecule consisting of three portions. There is an adenine portion attached to a ribose (sugar) portion, attached…
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Are They Alive? DNA, Viruses, Gametes

[caption id="attachment_7797" align="alignright" width="380"] Varicella (chicken pox) virus. - Image CDC by Palmer and Bartin.[/caption] Some things may be associated with life, but the question remains: are they alive? Without turning this into a deeply scientific or philosophical discussion, an interesting question to ask in the proper context might be: Are they alive? We will consider a few examples of when this question might be appropriate. Is DNA alive? Do viruses live? Are an egg and a sperm alive before conception? Arguing the Case: One The DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule is a complex chemical species that varies considerably, but shares a basic commonality in whichever life form it constitutes a part. Thus the DNA of a frog is similar to the DNA of an ox, is similar to the DNA…
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