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Biochemistry

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Biochemistry is the chemistry of life. Biochemists study the molecules and chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes that take place in all living organisms. See the article on molecular biology for a diagram and description of the interrelationship between biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics.

Biochemistry is the study of the structure and function of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules. Recently biochemistry has focused more specifically on the chemistry of enzyme-mediated reactions, and on the properties of proteins.

The biochemistry of cell metabolism has been extensively described. Other areas of biochemistry include the genetic code (DNA, RNA), protein synthesis, cell membrane transport, and signal transduction.

Development of biochemistry

The dawn of biochemistry may have been the discovery of the first enzyme, diastase, in 1833 by Anselme Payen. In 1828, Friedrich W?r published a paper about the synthesis of urea, proving that organic compounds can be created artificially, in contrast to the common belief of the time that organic compounds could only be made by living organisms. It is generally accepted that the term biochemistry was coined in 1903 by Carl Neuber, a German chemist. Since then, biochemistry has advanced, especially since the mid-20th century, with the development of new techniques such as chromatography, X-ray diffraction, NMR, radioisotopic labelling, 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).

Today, the findings of biochemistry are used in many areas, from genetics to molecular biology and from agriculture to medicine. The first application of biochemistry was probably the making of bread using yeast, about 5000 years ago.

Subdisciplines

Biochemistry is principally concerned with the chemistry of substances that can be classified into a few major categories:

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See also


General subfields within biology
Anatomy | Astrobiology | Biochemistry | Bioinformatics | Botany | Cell biology | Ecology | Developmental biology | Evolutionary biology | Genetics | Genomics | Marine biology | Human biology | Microbiology | Molecular biology | Origin of life | Paleontology | Parasitology | Physiology | Taxonomy | Zoology


Chemistry

Analytical chemistry | Organic chemistry | Inorganic chemistry | Physical chemistry | Polymer chemistry | Biochemistry | Materials science | Environmental chemistry | Medicinal chemistry | Pharmacy | Thermochemistry | Electrochemistry | Nuclear chemistry | Computational chemistry | Photochemistry
Periodic table | List of inorganic compounds | List of organic compounds | List of biomolecules
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