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Rename amino acids

make them easier to learn
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

There are 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins. This makes them pretty important in biology, so it would be useful to be able to learn them easily.
Unfortunately however, they were named on an ad-hoc basis before their significance was appreciated. Here is a list:

Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid (Aspartate), Cysteine, Glutamine, Glutamic acid (Glutamate), Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, Valine.

You will observe that there are four amino acids (henceforth: aa) starting with the letter "A" - of which two start with "Aspar", two aa which start with "Glutami", two similar names beginning with "L", and three beginning with "T".
This makes it harder than it need be to learn and distinguish them, for which there is a significant opportunity cost.

To add to the confusion, because it's useful to deal with long chains of aa, they have been assigned official single-letter codes. Here is a list:

A       Alanine
R       Arginine
N       Asparagine
D       Aspartic acid
C       Cysteine
Q       Glutamine
E       Glutamic acid
G       Glycine
H       Histidine
I        Isoleucine
L       Leucine
K       Lysine
M       Methionine
F       Phenylalanine
P       Proline
S       Serine
T       Threonine
W       Tryptophan
Y       Tyrosine
V       Valine

This is more sensible, but there is a significant mnemonic burden in interconverting between the name and the code.

I propose that each misnamed amino acid be renamed such that it starts with its IUPAC code, and sounds like it does. The initial proposal is:

A       Alanine
R       Rahginine *
N       Nasparagine *
D       Daspartic acid *
C       Cysteine
Q       Quetamine *
E        Egglutamic acid *
G       Glycine
H       Histidine
I        Isoleucine
L        Leucine
K        Klysine *
M       Methionine
F        Fenylalanine *
P        Proline
S        Serine
T       Threonine
W       Whiptophan *
Y        Yitrosine *
V        Valine

This is actually a fairly minimal set of changes, and those who have learnt the original names should rapidly be able to adapt.
Out of an initial screening group of 3 molecular biologists[1], 100% were strongly in favour.

[1] Includes the proposer.

Loris, Dec 04 2015

Table of standard amino acid abbreviations and properties https://en.wikipedi...ions_and_properties
Includes 1-letter abbreviation column [Loris, Dec 08 2015]

[link]






       Your proposal has been reviewed against the help file and noted as meeting those criterion.   

       " naming - specific names to give to people, pets, restaurants, top level domains, etc. are out of scope for the halfbakery. Whole naming schemes, tools to help with naming or exchange names, and specific names accompanying actual inventions are okay. "
normzone, Dec 04 2015
  

       So, the official verdict on this idea, summing up all possible amendments, improvements, critiques, and asides, is that it is “okay”. I think we can close comments and move on to the next idea without any further discussion.
pocmloc, Dec 04 2015
  

       It'd probly help if you made all the words the same length, as well... and make them all rhyme, too so they can be used in a limerick.
FlyingToaster, Dec 04 2015
  

       // Out of an initial screening group of 3 molecular biologists[1], 100% were strongly in favour.   

       [1] Includes the proposer. //   

       With such a convincing data set, there's no way this idea can be wrong, so we will vote for it [+].
8th of 7, Dec 04 2015
  

       They could all be named after The Wombles, and when those run out, go on to the members of the Banana Splits (obscure american telly program we grew up with in the ’70s).
Ian Tindale, Dec 04 2015
  

       I require a romance novel involving as many of these names as possible and several improbable sex positions in the form of a limerick.
Voice, Dec 04 2015
  

       Said Proline, "A 'Mexican Klycine'
Is supposed to be better than ice-cream."
But the Threonine Spurt
Got him branded Pervert
'Twas disaster! (And tricky to dry-clean.)
friendlyfire, Dec 05 2015
  

       C'mon Attaturk. Either you're in our you're out. No half measures. Once more, phonetically!
bungston, Dec 05 2015
  

       Somebody should invent an amino acid and call it alanine. Oh wait, they did.   

       And there should be one called thylacine.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 05 2015
  

       //Somebody should invent an amino acid and call it alanine. Oh wait, they did.//   

       Hmm. Fixed (in the last two lists), along with some tinkering with the formatting...
Loris, Dec 06 2015
  

       This would be totally down to the individuals brain and how they memorise the best. I don't think there is a one size fits all method so this scheme will only fit another group. Those with a great memorising skills/genetics it wouldn't matter.
wjt, Dec 06 2015
  

       To my eternal shame, I only worked out that glutamate wasn't just ionized glutamine about 2 years ago. I mean, there should be a fine or something. Or maybe my PhD certificate should have points added, like a speeding offense....
bs0u0155, Dec 06 2015
  

       //This would be totally down to the individuals brain and how they memorise the best. I don't think there is a one size fits all method so this scheme will only fit another group.//   

       I disagree. It's not that my proposal switches to a different learning scheme, it just removes the cognitive interference which arises from the current very similar names.
Loris, Dec 07 2015
  

       what [8th] said...+
xandram, Dec 07 2015
  

       //what [8th] said..// You saw it here first.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 07 2015
  

       Is Quet pronounced kwet or ket? Because I want to read it as the latter, and then it overlaps with the drug.
MechE, Dec 07 2015
  

       Microbiologists rename things completely every decade or so, old habits / learning be damned. Then they stride about using the new names and raising eyebrows at the plebians talking like it is 1972.   

       I say that biochemists need to grow some hair and do the same. Rename the whole crew appropriately and everyone else get in line.
bungston, Dec 07 2015
  

       //Is Quet pronounced kwet or ket? Because I want to read it as the latter, and then it overlaps with the drug.//   

       I was thinking cuetamine / cute-amine (as in queue) which is some phonetic distance away from ketamine.   

       In each case I tried to 'bend' the leading syllable so it wouldn't overlap with anything, but may have hit something I either don't know or forgot about, so no promises.   

       However, I can at least test them via google's magic DWYM functionality. (In the following list, I use -> to indicate following the "Show results for <original search>" link.)   

       Rahginine : Showing results for Arginine -> This page is top hit.
Nasparagine : Showing results for Asparagine -> About 230 results, I think contractions of N- asparagine
Daspartic acid : About 456,000 results, but top ones are contractions of D-aspartic acid
Quetamine : About 557 results (Did you mean: Ketamine?) Apparently random links to people who've also made up this word as a song title or handle etc.
Egglutamic acid : Showing results for glutamic acid -> this page is top hit, second hit is mnemonic for glutamic acid.
Klysine : Showing results for Lysine -> About 993 results, again song title, handles, a stand-in for epsilon-lysine, a contraction of K-lysine and so on
Fenylalanine : Including results for Phenylalanine -> ...About 46,300 results - apparently this is Dutch for Phenylalanine
Whiptophan : This page is the top hit (only other hit is a mnemonic for tryptophan)
Yitrosine : This page is the only hit.
  

       So I think they're mostly okay.
Loris, Dec 07 2015
  

       //K. Potassium.//   

       Sorry... what?
You realise that everything up to "I propose" in the idea is introduction and background information, right?
I'm not creating the standard official IUPAC single letter amino-acid codes.
  

       In any case, it's unlikely that people dealing with proteins or chemical compounds will mistake Klysine for potassium or vice versa. If we absolutely insisted that everything have a completely unique identification code ... well, I think we'd already be at the point where we'd used up all the short codes in latin, greek and russian alphabets, all easily distinguishable unicode symbols and - even then some would possibly be longer than the words they were replacing.
And physicists would have to hand back the nucleus to the biologists, and so on.
Loris, Dec 08 2015
  

       Can we rename one Dennis?
tatterdemalion, Dec 08 2015
  

       //I require a romance novel involving as many of these names as possible and several improbable sex positions in the form of a limerick.//   

       Challenge Accepted!   

       Walking along the hall, I found Eggluta apparently leucine through a keyhole. "Egglutamate" I hailed him, what are you serine at?
"Isoleucine at Meth", he said "Methionine in her room, naked. She's a quetamine, and no mistake."
"You incorrigable daspartate!" I shouted, jostling him.
"Stoppit, oh, now she's valine herself."
Meth opened the door, looking very fetching in the nightdress she'd threonine.
"Hello Alan... Eggluta," she proline. "What are you two rahginine about?"
"Would you like to come Alanine?", she held the door open for me, and looked nasparagine at him.
I entered, klysine the door in Eggluta's face, and putting the cysteine the keyhole.
"I'm sorry, I said. I'm not sure how long histidine the door before yitrosine."
She whiptophan nightdress, and glycine her in all her beauty.
"Never mind him", she whispered, as I clasped her close. "I care nothing for him, I only Fenylalanine."
  

       Ok, so it wasn't exactly in limerick form, sorry.
Loris, Dec 08 2015
  

       It was also very bad.   

       Someone should re-write one verse of the Elements song to cover the amino acids.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 08 2015
  

       Whiptophan? No, you'll just break the blades.
Cuit_au_Four, Dec 09 2015
  

       I arst my two bess mates, I did, I says "ere, why don't we take a perfectly useable list of complicated names and change them all just a ickle bit, so's we come up wiv a list of perfectly useable complicated... list of... stuff... and... an' they said: Thass BRillyant, that iss. I luv, you, yor my bess mate." We 'ad 'ad a few, by that time, so we might've forgot some detailsh. Winnah! Collect ten zillion points.
Notes, Dec 03 2017
  
      
[annotate]
  


 

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