Acid, amino: One of the 20 building blocks of protein. The sequence of amino acids in a protein and, hence, the function of that protein are determined by the genetic code in the DNA.
Amino acids are molecules that (in technical terms) contain a basic amino (NH2) group, an acidic carboxyl (COOH) group and a side chain attached to an alpha carbon atom.
The 20 amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine.
The term "amino acids" dates to the middle of the 19th century. The idea that amino acids are "Bausteine" (building stones) came from the Nobel Prize winning German biochemist Albrecht Kossel (1853-1927).