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1: In The Beginning
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- 1.1: Introduction - Basic Biology
- The most obvious thing about living organisms is their astounding diversity. Estimates put the number of eukaryotic species at about 8.7 million, while bacteria account for anywhere between 107 and 109 different species. The number of species of archaea is still uncertain, but is expected to be very large. These organisms, representing the three great domains of life, together occupy every environmental niche imaginable.
- 1.2: Introduction - Basic Chemistry
- To understand biochemistry, one must possess at least a basic understanding of organic and general chemistry. In this brief section, we will provide a rapid review of the simple concepts necessary to understand cellular chemistry. Chemistry is chemistry, whether in a cell or outside it, but biological chemistry is a particular subset of organic chemistry that often involves enormous macromolecules, and that happens in the aqueous environment of the cell.
- 1.3: Introduction - Water and Buffers
- When it comes to water, we’re literally drowning in it, as water is by far the most abundant component of every cell. To understand life, we begin the discussion with the basics of water, because everything that happens in cells, even reactions buried deep inside enzymes, away from water, is influenced by water’s chemistry.