Portal:Metabolism
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Portal:Metabolism

The Biochemistry Portal

Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.

A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry can 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 by biochemical methodology and research. 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, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues and organs, as well as organism structure and function.

Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.

Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions, and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids, which provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life. The chemistry of the cell also depends on the reactions of smaller 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). The mechanisms by which cells 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. In nutrition, they study how to maintain health and wellness and study the effects of nutritional deficiencies. In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers. They also try to discover ways to improve crop cultivation, crop storage, and pest control.

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A DNA microarray (also commonly known as DNA chip or biochip) is a collection of microscopic DNA spots attached to a solid surface. Scientists use DNA microarrays to measure the expression levels of large numbers of genes simultaneously or to genotype multiple regions of a genome. Each DNA spot contains picomoles (10-12moles) of a specific DNA sequence, known as probes (or reporters or oligos). These can be a short section of a gene or other DNA element that are used to hybridize a cDNA or cRNA (also called anti-sense RNA) sample (called target) under high-stringency conditions. Probe-target hybridization is usually detected and quantified by detection of fluorophore-, silver-, or chemiluminescence-labeled targets to determine relative abundance of nucleic acid sequences in the target. The original nucleic acid arrays were macro arrays approximately 9 cm × 12 cm and the first computerized image based analysis was published in 1981. It was invented by Patrick O. Brown. Read more...

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There is still a lot of work to do on Wikipedia's biochemistry articles.

Visit the Metabolic Pathways task force page to see what needs doing to the wide range of metabolism-related articles, images and templates. In particular the roadmap for article development may be of interest.

On the more general front, the Molecular and Cellular Biology Wikiproject may also have projects of interest.

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