Meet the molecules
Mirror molecules in plants and fungi
Plants and fungi are two distantly related organisms, but they have coevolved with each other for hundreds of millions of years and established very distinctive metabolisms. Yet interestingly, plants and fungi in some cases, can ‘work out’ their own ways to make structurally very similar, mirror, or even identical molecules.
Vinblastine and vincristine: life-saving drugs from a periwinkle
Catharanthus roseus, also known as Madagascar periwinkle, is a small perennial plant native to Madagascar. Its attractive white or pink flowers have made it a popular ornamental plant in gardens and homes across the world, but it is also the source of some life-saving drugs.
We have known about the effects of β-ODAP (or to give it its full name; β-L-oxalyl-2,3-diaminopropionic acid) for a lot longer than we have known the molecule.
Meet the molecules; Christmas edition
What give holly berries their red colour? Prof Alison Smith investigates.