Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry 6th Edition

Published by W.H. Freeman
ISBN 10: 1-42923-414-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-42923-414-6

Chapter 1 - The Foundations of Biochemistry - Problems: 10

Answer

Silicon does favor tetrahedral binding like carbon; However, two main factors make it less appealing as a basis for life: 1. Silicon is much larger than carbon and struggles to form double bonds, which are commonly formed in biochemistry. 2. Silicon only bonds with a limited amount of elements, whereas carbon is able to bind with a larger array. A lack of versatility in binding narrows the biochemical reactions silicon can participate in.

Work Step by Step

Looking at the periodic table informs us of silicon's size, while consulting a beginning inorganic chemistry textbook shows that silicon tends to only bind with a limited assortment of molecules.
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