Sidechain

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In this picture all backbone atoms are shown. The side chain is indicated by R. There are twenty 'normal' amino acids, all with a different side chain R.

Part of an amino acid that is unique and therefore defines its properties

Amino acids consist of a part that is always the same for each amino acid, the backbone, and a part that differs between the amino acids, the side chain. It is this side chain that defines the specific properties of the residue, such as charge, size or hydrophobicity. This side chain is connected to the central C-alpha atom.