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biochemistry


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The study of the chemistry of living organisms, especially the structure and function of their chemical components (principally proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids). Biochemistry has advanced rapidly with the development, from the mid-20th century, of such techniques as chromatography, spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, radioisotopic labelling, and electron microscopy. Using these techniques to separate and analyse biologically important molecules, the steps of the metabolic pathways in which they are involved (e.g. glycolysis and the Krebs cycle) have been determined. This has provided some knowledge of how organisms obtain and store energy, how they manufacture and degrade their biomolecules, how they sense and respond to their environment, and how all this information is carried and expressed by their genetic material. Biochemistry forms an important part of many other disciplines, especially physiology, nutrition, molecular biology, and genetics, and its discoveries have made a profound impact in medicine, agriculture, industry, and many other areas of human activity.

http://www.biochemweb.org/ A virtual library of biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology

1833

French chemist Anselme Payen (1795–1871) discovers diastase (the first enzyme to be discovered).

1836

Theodor Schwann discovers the digestive enzyme pepsin.

c.1860

Louis Pasteur demonstrates fermentation is caused by ‘ferments’ in yeasts and bacteria.

1869

German biochemist Johann Friedrich Miescher (1844–95) discovers nucleic acid.

1877

Pasteur's ‘ferments’ are designated as enzymes.

1890

German chemist Emil Fischer (1852–1919) proposes the ‘lock-and-key’ mechanism to explain enzyme action.

1901

Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine (1854–1922) isolates adrenaline (the first hormone to be isolated).

1903

German biologist Eduard Buchner (1860–1917) discovers the enzyme zymase (causing fermentation).

1904

British biologist Arthur Harden (1865–1940) discovers coenzymes.

1909

Russian-born US biochemist Phoebus Levene (1869–1940) identifies ribose in RNA.

1921

Canadian physiologist Frederick Banting (1891–1941) and US physiologist Charles Best (1899–1978) isolate insulin.

1922

Alexander Fleming discovers the enzyme lysozyme.

1925

Russian-born British biologist David Keilin (1887–1963) discovers cytochrome.

1926

US biochemist James Sumner (1877–1955) crystallizes urease (the first enzyme to be isolated).

1929

German chemist Hans Fischer (1881–1945) determines the structure of haem (in haemoglobin).

K. Lohman isolates ATP from muscle.

1930

US biochemist John Northrop (1891–1987) isolates the enzyme pepsin.

1932

Swedish biochemist Hugo Theorell (1903–82) isolates the muscle protein myoglobin.

1937

Hans Krebs discovers the Krebs cycle.

1940

German-born US biochemist Fritz Lipmann (1899–1986) proposes that ATP is the carrier of chemical energy in many cells.

1943

US biochemist Britton Chance (1913– ) discovers how enzymes work (by forming an enzyme-substrate complex).

1952

US biologist Alfred Hershey (1908– ) proves that DNA carries genetic information.

1953

Francis Crick and James Watson discover the structure of DNA.

1955

Frederick Sanger discovers the amino acid sequence of insulin.

1956

US biochemist Arthur Kornberg (1918– ) discovers DNA polymerase.

US molecular biologist Paul Berg (1926– ) identifies the nucleic acid later known as transfer RNA.

1957

British biologist Alick Isaacs (1921–67) discovers interferon.

1959

Austrian-born British biochemist Max Perutz (1914– ) determines the structure of haemoglobin.

1960

South African-born British molecular biologist Sydney Brenner (1927– ) and French biochemist François Jacob (1920– ) discover messenger RNA.

1961

British biochemist Peter Mitchell (1920–92) proposes the chemiosmotic theory.

[...]

Subjects: Biological Sciences.


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