Hormones and Enzymes and DNA

A brief primer on life starting with amino acids and vegetation.

Amino is an adjective form of ammonia (Baal-hamon) a pungent gas with the molecular formula NH3 (one Nitrogen atom and 3 Hydrogen atoms)
These NH3 molecules then interact with hydro-carbon molecules, each time losing one hydrogen atom and having it replaced by the hydrogen atom in the hydro-carbon. These form long molecule chains that often include oxygen atoms and occasionally sulphur atoms, grouping always around a solid carbon atom in the centre. There are a huge number of variations to these chains. Then, along with water (liquid) and oxygen (gas), they become the basis of all life forms on the earth.

Click here for further information.

Let's go on

Amino Acids
There are twenty standard amino acid molecules, bending and flexing inside each body to build its form. In humans, all are produced (synthesized) inside the liver. Of these, twelve amino acids are produced naturally, while the other eight are produced through nutrition.

Peptides traditionally consist of a chain between 2 and 50 amino acids long. An example is insulin produced inside the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. In the process, each amino acid is referred to as a monomer, as the carboxyl group (-COOH) of one is joined to the amino group (-NH2) of the next by a peptide bond of the type -CO-NH- and water. This forms a polymer, a macromolecule, with each amino acid unit referred to as a residue after the elements of water are removed.
A polypeptide is a long unbranched chain between 50 and 2000 amino acids long.
Proteins are defined as one or more polypeptides.


Hormones (from the Greek word "To impel") travel around inside the blood through the body, building new structures. There are four hormone groups: Amino Acids, Peptides, Steroids, and a special fatty acid group known as Eicosanoids (or "local" hormones) that don't travel very far .

Adrenaline hormone (C9H13NO3), Latin for "at the kidneys", also known as epinephrine, Greek for "upon the kidneys" is amino acid derived, and is generated in the adrenal glands for a "fight or flight" response, with a half-life of approximately one minute. The amino acid it is derived from is Tyrosine (C9H11NO3).

Steroid hormones include androgens and estrogens. They are produced by the adrenal glands atop the kidneys, also the sex organs both males and females. Androgens (from the Greek word for "males") are hormones more commonly found in males such as testosterone (C19H28O2). Estrogens (related to the Greek word for "frenzy or passion") are hormones more commonly found in females to assist with reproduction e.g. estradiol (C18H24O2). Chemically both are related to cholesterol (C27H46O) a lipid (fat) that coats each cell's membrane.

Click here for a full list of hormones, including a list of Amino Acids, Peptides, Steroids, and Eicosanoids.

Click here for another list of hormones, this time with links to Proteins and Growth Factors.


While made up of amino acids, they are not hormones. Enzymes (from the Greek word "in leaven, yeast"), are a specialist group of amino acids that don't do any actual "body-building" , but as large chains they do speed up activity inside the body, particularly in the digestion of food.

Click here for a list of digestive enzymes.
Note too that while most enzymes are proteins, a few are catalytic RNA molecules, called ribozymes.


DNA Blueprints
In the nucleus of every cell (in humans) there are 23 pairs of chromosomes containing 20,000 genes (genetic blueprints) in two double stranded "ladders" (one ladder initially from mum, one ladder from dad). These are encoded inside 6 billion units (base pairs) of DNA inside the two ladders (3 billion initially from mum, 3 billion from dad).

SRY gene: In the case of normal-functioning males, there is always a Y chromosome present in that 23rd chromosome pair. However, in the rare case of the SRY (Sex-determining Region Y) gene at the tip of the Y chromosome not functioning, the male will become a eunuch, like a female but without ovaries. This also occurs, rarely, when Complete Androgen Insensitivity syndrome occurs, when the Androgen Receptor gene in cells is broken or missing so the cells can't bind (respond) to androgen hormones to build male testes. Another, rare, genetic anomaly (PMDS) can cause XY males to develop a uterus and ovaries.

Other rare genetic cases can occur with females causing them to function more like males, though never with an ability to produce sperm. Experiments, sadly, are working on this.

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