Asymmetric carbon

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An asymmetric carbon has 4 different atoms or groups of atoms bonded to it. This type of central carbon atom can also be known as a chiral carbon [1].

An example of a molecule that contains an asymmetric carbon is an amino acid. This is because these molecules contain a central carbon atom attached to an amino group, carboxyl group, hydrogen atom and a variable side chain[2]


  1. Berg, J., Tymoczko, J. and Stryer, L. (2011). Biochemistry. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p27
  2. Hartl, D. and Ruvolo, M. (2012). Genetics. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. p347

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