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Amino Acid

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Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods
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An organic compound containing an amino group (NH 2 ), a carboxylic acid group (COOH), and any of various side groups, having the basic formula NH 2 CHRCOOH.

Amino acids are organic compounds composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen in a specific structure where a central carbon atom is surrounded by a carboxyl group, an amino group, and a side chain that may be a single hydrogen or a more complex chain with multiple carbon-bearing entities. The structure common to all amino acids is shown in Fig. 1 . Approximately 20 common amino acids are found in nature, and they combine in sequences of varying lengths to form peptides and proteins that have specific biochemical functions. Amino acids are found in a variety of geological samples and play a role in understanding chemical evolution, the formation and alteration of organic material in sediments, and geochronology (Goodfriend et al. 2000).

Fig. 1
figure 1

Mirror-image relation between the two configurations of amino acid...

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  • Goodfriend, G. A., Collins, M. J., Fogel, M. L., Macko, S. A., and Wehmiller, J. F. (eds.), 2000. Perspectives in Amino Acid and Protein Geochemistry. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. xvi + 366 pp.

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  • Hatte, C., Hodgins, G., Jull, A. J. T., Bishop, B., and Tesson, B., 2008. Marine chronology based on 14C dating on diatom proteins. Marine Chemistry, 109, 143–151.

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  • Marom, A., McCullagh, J. S. O., Higham, T. F. G., Sinitsyn, A. A., and Hedges, R. E. M., 2012. Single amino acid radiocarbon dating of Upper Paleolithic modern humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 6878–6881.

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Correspondence to John Wehmiller .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Wehmiller, J. (2013). Amino Acid. In: Rink, W., Thompson, J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods. Springer, Dordrecht.

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