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protein folding problem

One of the main unsolved problems in molecular biology, the protein folding problem deals with the question of predicting the three-dimensional shape of a protein molecule from the sequence of amino acids that make up the protein molecules. The main difficulty arises from the large number of interactions between different atoms in a protein molecule, a number that lies outside of the ability of modern computers to handle. (See also protein structure and proteomics.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.