Glycine: Formula, Structure & Benefits

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brekke Peterson Munks
Have you heard of glycine? If not, you are in the right place! In this lesson, you will learn about the formula, structure, and importance of this amino acid.

What Is an Amino Acid?

Did you know that super simple chemical compounds can be vital to life? The amino acid glycine is evidence of this fact. Amino acids are compounds that contain carbon and are very important to life. Glycine is the simplest of these amino acids and will be explained in detail later. Amino acid compounds are made up of an amine group, which is a nitrogen compound plus two hydrogens, and a carboxyl group, which is a carbon with two oxygen elements and a hydrogen, centered around a central carbon. This amine, carbon, and carboxyl group make up the backbone of an amino acid and is universally the same in all amino acids. It is the side chain or R group that makes each amino acid unique. There are 20 important amino acids that make up genetic code. Amino acids are broken into two very important groups:

  1. Essential amino acids: An amino acid that must be obtained in the food that is consumed because it cannot be made in the body.
  2. Non-essential amino acid: An amino acid that can be made in the body from other chemicals.

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  • 0:00 What Is an Amino Acid?
  • 1:12 Definition of Glycine
  • 1:46 Why Is Glycine Important?
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Definition of Glycine

Glycine is one of the 20 amino acids important to life. Its chemical formula is C2H5NO2. When studying this amino acid, it might be common to refer to it as Gly or just G. It is the smallest of all amino acids and has a side chain of just a hydrogen molecule. This amino acid, in its purest form, is sweet in taste, is non-polar, and does not have a charge. Glycine is made in the body from the amino acid serine and is generally formed in the liver.

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