20 Amino Acids
I have asked this before, but I did not
see the response anywhere on the website or in my email. Are all living
organisms made up of only 20 amino acids?
There are 20 basic amino acids but there are some other unusual amino acids
in a variety of organisms...these amino acids to my knowledge are not
usually coded for in the genetic code.
Animals and plants use only 20 amino acids. All but 8 are manufactured in the
human body. The 8 are the essential amino acids needed in diet.
On this planet, yes, there are only 20 naturally occurring amino acids. But
one interesting bit of trivia -- the product you know as Nutrasweet is really
a synthetic (chemically produced) compound that can technically be defined as
an amino acid, though it is not a naturally occurring one, so it is not
making any proteins.
Christine Ticknor, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
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Update: June 2012