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Abstract

The structure of vitamin B12, as we think of it today, is based on a fascinating complex of evidence obtained by X-ray analysis and by more traditional chemical means. We have reached a position in which we can almost say we “see” the molecule if not quite as clearly, perhaps, as we should like. We can assign positions in space to the atoms of this very large molecule within less than half an Ångstrom unit in two different crystal structures. We know its absolute configuration and the exact stereochemistry of all the different asymmetric centres present. Yet most of this knowledge rests on a way of using X-ray diffraction effects which is very far from rigid in its application. Part, at least, of our evidence that our method works at all is the character of the structure it has given us for B12 a structure that fits in an extraordinarily reasonable way with such a variety of observations, chemical and stereochemical and biogenetic, that it is impossible not to believe it is essentially correct.

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Copyright information

© Wien · Springer-Verlag 1958

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin
    • 1
  1. 1.OxfordUSA

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