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Biology
Chemistry
Atoms and Atomic Structure

How is the shape of a molecule important in biological systems?

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July 27, 2009 8:36PM

In biological systems, there are a great many situations in which a molecule fits into another molecule, essentially like a key fitting into a lock, or in some cases, more like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, fitting into the puzzle. Shape is tremendously important. It isn't everything, though. There are also patterns of electrical charge within molecules (some atoms or groupings of atoms have a greater attraction for electrons than others). And of course, elements also react with other chemicals on the basis of their valence. So we have a mixture of chemical influences. But shape is crucial.