Talk:Oligomer

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Oligomer and multimer, biochemistry vs chemistry[edit]

Multimer redirects to this page, which describes two very different things. On one side, it describes the chemical oligo-mer that is a poly-mer with only a few (pseudo)identical units. Polymers are polysaccharides (e.g. starch, cellulose), or polypeptide or polystyrene. On the other side, it describes the biochemical multimer, that is a non covalent assembly of units. A multimer is hemoglobin etc.

  • In a chemical polymer, the units that participate to the polymerization disappear. Contrarily to what we abusively say, a polypeptide is not "made up of amino-acids", because the amines and acids have been consumed in the polymerisation.
  • In a multimer, the units are conserved.

This is a debate that comes again and again in my domain, where many people are neither chemist or biochemist, but originate from math or physics. Wikipedia is their ultimate source of knowledge (which is good). One way of solving that would be to split the page in two: oligomer and multimer. We would still mention the ambiguity of everyday use. But at least new learners would use the right terms immediately and not spread this ambiguity. Nicolas Le Novère (talk) 17:39, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

  • good idea, although multimer redirects to this page it is not explicitly mentioned, the biochemistry bit (non-covalent) is confusing. The page would benefit from a separation of concepts. V8rik (talk) 20:53, 9 January 2014 (UTC)