God's Favorite Elements
If God has any favorite elements, they must be Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen. These four elements make up the majority of all Biological compounds. Without them, life on this planet as we know it could not exist. Due to the bonding possibilities between and among these elements, literally millions of organic compounds are possible.
Carbon is the backbone of all organic compounds. It forms the main structure of the molecule with Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and occasionally other elements replacing Carbon or bonding to it at key points in the molecular structure. A carbon skeleton is the basis of all amino acids and nucleotides, the building blocks of proteins and of DNA/RNA respectively. The "R" in the image here represents a different side chain specific to each amino acid. There are 22 "standard" amino acids used in human proteins, of which eight are "essential" and can not be synthesized in the body so must be taken in as a food.
Carbon forms strong bonds with itself so it can form long chain compounds. Carbon forms more compounds than any other element, with almost ten million organic compounds described to date, plus an almost unlimited number of compounds that are theoretically possible.
Carbon also has some unique properties at the elemental level. It is the fourth most abundant element in the Universe, and is comparatively unreactive under normal conditions. It forms a number of allotropes most notably diamond, one of the hardest substances known and highly abrasive, and graphite, one of the softest substances and a very good lubricant. It can also form nanotubes, an area of intense research currently with significant possibilities in many areas. Carbon typically forms four bonds, filling up its 2p orbital.
Hydrogen is the filler of the open bonds with Carbon, any bond not linked to Oxygen, Nitrogen or other element in the compound will generally be linked to a Hydrogen atom. Thus a molecule made up of a Carbon...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document