I'm interested in hearing opinions about how questions that could potentially be answered in multiple stack exchange forums should be answered. The following question was asked on the main biology forum: Are alpha-ketoglutarate and glutamate involved in all transamination reactions?

A comment followed indicating that General Chemistry question were off-topic, with which I initially disagreed. Transamination reactions are critical to anapleurosis/catapleurosis of metabolic cycles, and I thought this clearly belonged in the biology forum with a Biochemistry tag.

That user, a respected individual in this community, indicated that the question "lacks any biological background" and thus "Chemistry.SE would be better". I agreed with his comment, however, the OP subsequently indicated that similar question in the Chemisty.SE would be unanswerable by the chemistry community.

Are there strong feelings about that community that should be answering these questions, or how have similar situations be handled in the past?

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for putting up this question. I wasn't actually notified about your message. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


I strongly disagree that this question is off-topic here. At least the way I'm reading your question, you're asking about transamination in biological systems, which is certainly about biology. You might want to clarify that point, just to make sure.

Biochemistry is a part of Biology and is fully on-topic here. I've seen some previous cases where there was disagreement about migrating similar questions to Chemistry, I think we need a new discussion about where to draw the line between Chemistry and Biology SE.

  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree and would want to add that biochemistry is not only a part of biology but also is the foundation for the entire modern biology. So biochemistry is a core-topic. $\endgroup$
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there's any real problem here. If the poster had used the phrase "biological systems" and tagged it with "metabolism" the problem wouldn't have arisen. I notice that the question has been tagged as "homework". Although this does not disqualify it, I suspect that the person objecting may have been reacting to the frequent "homework"-type posts of the poster. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:42

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