See Inside Medical Mystery: Mirror Images of Amino Acids Provide Clues to Schizophrenia, Stroke and Lobster Sex

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Of the 20-some amino acids in nature's standard tool kit, only glycine (top) is achiral, meaning it exhibits neither right-handed nor left-handed properties; mirror images of the molecule will exactly match each other if superimposed. The amino acid serine, in contrast, is chiral; its mirror images cannot be superimposed.

GRAPHIC CONSULTANT: MARTIN MA Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Jen Christiansen


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