June 21st 2012
As far as I’m concerned, lysine is just OK. As an overall class of molecules, amino acids are sort of bland. Slim pickens in terms of functional diversity. Not a lot of a razzle dazzle. And among the 20-22 (depending on who you ask) lysine is about as average as it gets. If there were a Yelp review for lysine I would give it 2 out of 5 stars. And yet I can think of two major movies where lysine was a critical plot element. The first dates back to my awkward middle school years: Jurassic Park invoked the “lysine contingency” as a last resort means to control unmitigated dinosaur reproduction. Clip here.
More recently, and more based in reality, the 1996 lysine price-fixing scandal was brilliantly portrayed by a hefty Matt Damon in The Informant! In this movie I enjoyed how Damon put a slight emphasis on the second syllable in lysine, opposite how I’ve always heard it.
Are there other amino acids that have been pivotal in other movies? I can’t think of too many off the top of my head. Maybe dopamine/levodopa in Awakenings is all that comes to mind.