Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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1. chemical conversion of an optically active substance into another that is relatively inactive.

2. see amino acid racemization.

3. process that is useful for dating individual tissues in a living organism. Amino acids in tooth enamel, for example, racemize linearly and can be used to estimate the chronological age of an individual. The technique is very accurate if the individual is living, as the tissues have been maintained at a relatively constant temperature.

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