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CHEMICAL ORIGIN OF LIFE

A detour to sterol synthesis

Sterols are a hallmark of eukaryotes. So how do hordes of primitive eukaryotes survive and thrive without a key enzyme for making these crucial lipids? We now learn what solution evolution arrived at — invention of an alternative enzyme that does the same job.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Andrew J. Brown.

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Fig. 1: SQE catalyses the first oxygenation step of sterol synthesis across eukaryotic life.