Amino Acid Names

Athel Cornish-Bowden athel at BIGFOOT.COM
Tue May 20 04:53:05 EST 1997

Mark Griep (mgriep at

>I would be interested to know the meanings behind the names of the amino
>acids. The only one I know is asparagine; so named because it was isolated
>from asparagus. Does anyone know of a source for the meanings of the

Try these references: Vickery, H. B. & Schmidt, C. L. A. (1931) Chem. Rev.
9, 169-318; Vickery, H. B. (1972) Adv. Prot. Chem. 26, 81-171.

I have *not* looked at these myself. However, they are cited in
"Nomenclature and symbolism for amino acids and peptides" (IUPAC-IUB Joint
Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature, Eur. J. Biochem. 138, 9-37 (1984))
in a way that suggests they may give some or all of the information you are
looking for.

More generally, if you are interested in biochemical nomenclature you may
like to know that the Executive Committee of IUBMB does not share your
enthusiasm. See

Athel Cornish-Bowden

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