Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life. The Importance of Carbon. Compounds containing carbon are said to be organic compounds Organic chemistry - specializes in study of carbon compounds. Major elements of life include CHNOPS .
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Stanley Miller’s 1953 experiment: the abiotic synthesis of organic compounds under “early Earth” conditions
Hydrogen and other elementscovalently bonded to carbon
Shape of carbon molecule can vary with number of bonds and number of carbon atoms
Valence equals number of covalent bonds an atom will usually form as well as the number of electrons required to complete the atom’s valence shell
A comparison of the functional groups of female (estradiol) and male (testosterone) sex hormones
Hydroxyl group –OH
Carbonyl group –CO, COH
Carboxyl group –COOH
Amino group –NH2,NH3+
Sulfhydryl group –SH
Phosphate group –OPO32-
The variation in locations of functional groups along carbon skeletons is a major source of molecular diversity.
Living matter consists mainly of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, with smaller amounts of sulfur and phosphorus.
These elements share characteristics of forming strong covalent bonds, a quality that is essential in the structure of complex organic molecules.