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Monday, March 05, 2012

Monday's Molecule #160

This is a very important molecule for some species. It's important to me, for example, because I worked with it in an undergraduate research project forty-nine many years ago.

UPDATE: The original structure was missing a methyl group at the bottom right. This has now been corrected.

Identify the molecule—the common name will do but make sure you get it right because there are quite a few similar molecules. You must also say why it's important for some species.

Post your answer in the comments. I'll hold off releasing any comments for 24 hours. The first one with the correct answer wins. I will only post correct answers to avoid embarrassment.

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.

Comments are invisable for 24 hours. Comments are now open.

UPDATE: The molecule is a gibberellin-like molecule. It was intended to be gibberellin GA1 but I left off a methyl group. This is similar to Monday's Molecule #102 (gibberellin GA3). Defects in one of the genes for gibberellin GA1 synthesis gave rise to the tall/short phenotype studied by Gregor Mendel [Mendel's Stem Length Gene (Le)]. Gibberellin GA1 was one of the molecules synthesized by Elias James Corey, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1990. The winner this week is Albi Celaj.

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


  1. I've discovered that it must be a Gibberellin, but I couldn't find an exact match. The closest is Gibberellin A1, but it's off by a methyl group. I am an undergraduate.

  2. It is a Giberellin--GA1 to be exact.

    Giberellins were discovered in the 1950's as plant growth regulators, but they are important for regulating many aspects of plant growth and development.

  3. This molecule is almost exactly the same as "Monday's Molecule #102" (save for a lack of a methyl group). So, this is desmethyl gibberellic acid :-) If that's not a right name then there are too many of them and it happens that I have to work...

  4. Raul A. Félix de SousaMonday, March 05, 2012 2:42:00 PM

    Molecule #160 resembles closely Giberellin A1 (a plant hormone), but it lacks the methyl group attached to carbon 4 (the carbon atom linked to the lactone carbonyl).

  5. The molecule is a gibberellin (it seems to be Gibberellin A1), a class of plant hormones involved in organ elongation and seed germination among other vital processes in plants.


  6. Gibberellin A1 with a missing methyl group in the structure. Plant hormone and (troublesome) fungal metabolite.