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Because there are so many overlaps with organic chemistry and biological sciences, I was wondering if we should allow questions pertaining to organic chemistry on biology.se. Of course, in an ideal world, these questions would be best suited for a chemistry.se but since that doesn't exist yet, I was wondering what people's thoughts are on "adopting" these kinds of questions for the time being.

Remember, organic chemistry has many foundations in biochemistry, chemical biology, synthetic biology, etc...

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The typical synthetic organic chemistry doesn't really have anything to do with biology, it should be considered off-topic on this site.

But there are a lot of aspects of biology that can be explained by organic chemistry, so questions about the chemical basis of biological systems are certainly on-topic. For example, asking why RNA is less stable than DNA is fundamentally an organic chemistry question that would be perfectly on-topic here.

It's unfortunate that the Chemistry proposal on Area 51 hasn't launched yet, but I hope we'll get that one started soon.

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I don't think this is a good idea. Organic chemistry is a vast domain and the question about leaving group closed recently requires the knowledge that is difficult to expect from a biochemistry, chemical biology etc. professional.

I do realize that we probably drop some users if we keep these questions off-topic, but allowing these questions might eventually lead to experts' drop and loose of project focus.

Notwithstanding I find a good policy to encourage people to commit for the Chemistry proposal on Area51. I just did it myself after I have read the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I might have to disagree with you on this one. Undergraduate education (at least in the United States) require a strong foundation in Organic Chemistry (nearly all undergrad programs require 1 yr of orgo + lab). Physicians are also mandated to have a strong understanding of organic chemistry and the relevance to biology is quite substantial. I'm also quite confident that people well-versed in biochemistry can answer questions pertaining to organic chemistry (i.e. I could've provided an answer to that leaving group question). $\endgroup$
    – jp89
    Feb 6 '12 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ (continued). Plus, I think this would open a venue for students in biology to ask their questions on organic chemistry (since it's in their curriculum, there must be some value to biology). A lot of chemical principles explain the fundamental mechanisms behind biological phenomena such as enzyme kinetics and reaction mechanisms. Of course, I agree with you that we should encourage people to commit to the Chemistry proposal on A51 but in the meantime, I think biology would be a good outlet. $\endgroup$
    – jp89
    Feb 6 '12 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ @jp89 I suggest you write up your comments as a separate answer, beginning it with the words "I disagree with the answer by Alexander Galkin .... ". That would allow other readers to up- and downvote your suggestion and -- in case if the majority supports you -- to introduce a new policy for accepted questions. $\endgroup$ Feb 6 '12 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ @jp89 Just because many of us could have provided an answer doesn't mean that we should. If something is off topic, it causes a bad precedent for a site that is hard to get out of in the long run. People would endlessly argue "well, it was on topic then, so it should be forever." If you're ever over on Meta.SO, check out some of the questions regarding this issue on SO. As to whether biology and orgo proper are good bedfellows, I've been through the whole rigmarole and I have my doubts. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Feb 11 '12 at 10:06
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If the chemistry question has a biology component - such as the question on ATP - then it is clearly within the remit of this site. All biologists should know some chemistry after all. Otherwise, we shunt it over to chemistry SE when it it is up.

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