the thread of life spec

  • Created by: chris
  • Created on: 11-01-12 17:33





A study of proteins and enzymes. DNA and its use in synthesising proteins. Main ideas :

rates of reaction;

enzyme catalysis;

optical isomerism;

amino acid and protein chemistry;

the structure and function of DNA.

How Science Works


  • the proposal of several models for DNA before the current one;

  • the use of enzymes in green chemistry;

  • the ethics of storing and using DNA data.

Assumed knowledge

rates of reaction (DF, A, **);

isomerism (DF, PR, TL, MD).

Learning Outcomes:


(a) explain and use the terms:

rate of reaction,

rate constant, including units,

order of reaction (both overall and with respect to a given reagent);

use empirical rate equations of the form: rate = k[A]m[B]n where m and n are integers; carry out calculations based on the rate equation; understand that the rate constant k increases with increasing temperature;

(b) understand that these experimental methods can be used in a school laboratory for following a reaction: titration, pH measurement, colorimetry, measuring volumes of gases

evolved, measuring mass changes;

(c) design experiments using given information and explain how the results of such experiments can be used to calculate the rate of the reaction;

(d) use given data to calculate half-lives for a reaction;

(e) use experimental data (half-lives or initial rates when varying concentrations are used) to find the order of a reaction (zero-, first- or second-order), and hence construct

a rate equation for the reaction;

(f) use the term rate-determining step to describe the slowest step in a reaction;

explain the shape of the rate versus substrate concentration curve for an enzyme-catalysed reaction in terms of the rate-determining step: at low concentrations of

substrate the order with respect to the substrate is one, at higher concentrations of substrate the order with respect to the substrate is zero; explain, given the necessary data, the useful information about the mechanism of a reaction that can be obtained from the rate-determining step;

Organic functional groups



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