Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday's Molecule #193

Last week's molecule was capsaicin, the molecule responsible for the "hot" sensation of chili peppers. There were two winners: Seth Kasowitz and Bill Gunn [Monday's Molecule #192].

This week's molecule is featured in an article that I will (hopefully) blog about in the next few days. There's a common name of sorts but you will need to supply the correct IUPAC name to win the free lunch.

Post your answer as a comment. I'll hold off releasing any comments for 24 hours. The first one with the correct answer wins. I will only post mostly correct answers to avoid embarrassment. The winner will be treated to a free lunch.

There could be two winners. If the first correct answer isn't from an undergraduate student then I'll select a second winner from those undergraduates who post the correct answer. You will need to identify yourself as an undergraduate in order to win. (Put "undergraduate" at the bottom of your comment.)

Some past winners are from distant lands so their chances of taking up my offer of a free lunch are slim. (That's why I can afford to do this!)

In order to win you must post your correct name. Anonymous and pseudoanonymous commenters can't win the free lunch.

Winners will have to contact me by email to arrange a lunch date. Please try and beat the regular winners. Most of them live far away and I'll never get to take them to lunch. This makes me sad.

Comments are now open.

UPDATE: The molecule is N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine. The winner is Michael Rasmussen.

Nov. 2009: Jason Oakley, Alex Ling
Oct. 17: Bill Chaney, Roger Fan
Oct. 24: DK
Oct. 31: Joseph C. Somody
Nov. 7: Jason Oakley
Nov. 15: Thomas Ferraro, Vipulan Vigneswaran
Nov. 21: Vipulan Vigneswaran (honorary mention to Raul A. Félix de Sousa)
Nov. 28: Philip Rodger
Dec. 5: 凌嘉誠 (Alex Ling)
Dec. 12: Bill Chaney
Dec. 19: Joseph C. Somody
Jan. 9: Dima Klenchin
Jan. 23: David Schuller
Jan. 30: Peter Monaghan
Feb. 7: Thomas Ferraro, Charles Motraghi
Feb. 13: Joseph C. Somody
March 5: Albi Celaj
March 12: Bill Chaney, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
March 19: no winner
March 26: John Runnels, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 2: Sean Ridout
April 9: no winner
April 16: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 23: Dima Klenchin, Deena Allan
April 30: Sean Ridout
May 7: Matt McFarlane
May 14: no winner
May 21: no winner
May 29: Mike Hamilton, Dmitri Tchigvintsev
June 4: Bill Chaney, Matt McFarlane
June 18: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
June 25: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 2: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 16: Sean Ridout, William Grecia
July 23: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
July 30: Bill Chaney and Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Aug. 7: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Aug. 13: Matt McFarlane
Aug. 20: Stephen Spiro
Aug. 27: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Sept. 3: Matt McFarlane
Sept. 10: Matt Talarico
Sept. 17: no winner
Sept. 24: Mikkel Rasmussen
Oct. 1: John Runnels
Oct. 8: Raúl Mancera
Oct. 15: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
Oct. 22: Mikkel Rasmussen
Nov. 12: Seth Kasowitz, Bill Gunn
Nov. 19: Michael Rasmussen


  1. N-(2-Aminoethyl)glycine

    Or more commonly known as AEG, the backbone in PNA proposed as a possible preRNA-world genetic polymer.

    I'm assuming you will write something about the paper where they discovered it in Cyanobacteria? :)

    /Mikkel Rasmussen, not undergraduate.

  2. The molecule is N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine.

  3. Common name: N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine

    IUPAC Name: 2-(2-aminoethylamino)acetic acid

  4. Molecule # 193 is N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine, shown in zwitterionic form. Its IUPAC name is 3,6-diazahexanoic acid.

  5. I always see these posts too late to win... but given the obscurity maybe I have a shot.

    The compound is "AEG" or N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine. It's the repeating backbone unit of peptide nucleic acid, a synthetic genetic polymer that's occasionally bandied about as a candidate for the pre-RNA world. Those claims are... debatable, but it is useful in a variety of synthetic biology applications, and was an early example proving that base-pairing does not require nucleic acids with a ribose-like backbone or even sugar-like backbone.

    I presume you're mentioning it because of the recent PLoS ONE paper that finds the compound as a metabolite in cyanobacteria. The results themselves are fairly straightforward, but they bracket it in the intro and discussion (and title) with reference to PNA, despite not finding any AEG with nucleobase attached, let alone a full fledged PNA polymer. And of course, they sent out a press release hyping the evidence of a PNA world found in primitive organisms...