By Marcel Florink (Auth.)
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Extra info for Biochemical Evolution
The keto acid generally decomposes ultimately into carbon dioxide and water by a series of reactions which differs from one amino acid to another. The ammonia resulting from the deamidation of glutamine by the kidney is eliminated in the urine as ammonium salts of weak acids, as part of the system of physiological regulation of the acid-base balance. The ammonia formed by the deamination of amino acids in the liver of mammals is transformed there into urea by the mechanism known as the "ornithine cycle" (Krebs and Henseleit, 146).
As for bony fishes, considering the over-all picture of excretion, we find that freshwater teleosts, such as the carp and goldfish, excrete ammonia and urea, with ammonia greatly in preponderance. The ammonia, how ever, is eliminated through the gills and its precursors are still unknown. In the Dipnoi, especially among the aquatic protopterans, both ammonia and urea are excreted, and the ammonia is again in great predominance (Smith, 250). But in the marine teleosts the total excretion is mainly made up of ammonia and trimethylamine oxide.
It is an important fact that a change in the structure of the molecule may endow it with different activity. This depends sometimes upon slight modifications which, wherever or whenever they appear, impart special properties to derivatives from otherwise inactive compounds. The molec ular changes may be responsible for some novel action occurring locally or they may create a new biochemical system which is affected by some already pre-existing substance. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that organisms may possess biochemical constituents which do not seem to have any significance for the life of the animal.