PerspectiveBiochemistry

Teaching nature the unnatural

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Science  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6315, pp. 970
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1951

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Summary

Silicon is found in nature in many inorganic forms, some of which are constructed by living organisms. Yet, no known biological molecule contains a carbon–silicon (C–Si) bond, and no biological processes to form C–Si bonds have been identified. On page 1048 of this issue, Kan et al. (1) show that natural as well as reengineered enzymes can promote C–Si bond formation. The resulting chiral compounds mostly consist of one of the two possible stereoisomers (enantiomers).