Largest organic compouds

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Chatha, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

    Only one person has answered correctly. DNA is by far the largest organic polymer in existence. Nothing else comes close. Let’s take human chromosome 1 (the largest human chromosome but not the largest chromosome in nature) as an example:

    A chromosome is comprised of one continuous double stranded molecule of DNA. The two stands are held together by hydrogen bonding, so each single strand is its own distinct molecule.

    Chromosome 1 has 247,249,719 bases (each strand).

    • Purines (adenine and guanine) have 5 carbon atoms.

    • Pyrimidines (cytosine and thymine) have 4 carbon atoms.

    • Ribose has 5 carbon atoms.

    • Phosphate has no carbons (PO[sub]4[/sub][sup]-[/sup])

    So, let’s use the average of the number of carbons found in purines and pyrimidines for each position in the DNA strand:
    4.5 carbon atoms.

    Each position on the strand is comprised of a base (either purine or pyrimidine), a ribose and a phosphate. These three items together are called a “nucleotide”.

    Total carbons for each nucleotide (base + ribose + phosphate) is:
    4.5 + 5 + 0 = 9.5 carbons.

    Multiply this by the number of nucleotides in chromosome 1........

    9.5 x 247,249,719 = 2,348,872,330 carbons!!!!

    My quick calculation of the complete formula for the DNA molecule in chr1 is:


    This may be a little off as I have taken averages for the composition of the four nitrogenous bases, but it will be pretty close.
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  3. Positron Agony: Not all pain is gain Registered Senior Member

    Well I would agree DNA is the largest organic molecule but that's something most people know already. I'm still curious as to the Second largest though.
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  5. Facial Valued Senior Member

    DNA is a coded polymer, meaning that it would have monotonous digital properties.

    Just about every other polymer, outside RNA, would carry no information and have a single monotonous analog property.

    A protein is very large, and in general they have non-monotonous, or unique, analog properties.

    It really depends on what functional properties you want to look at.
    If it's all-out biggest, then I would probably say a protein polymer, such as spider silk (I don't know the actual one).
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