Evolution and the Biosynthesis of Ascorbic Acid

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Science  21 Dec 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4118, pp. 1271-1272
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4118.1271


The ability to synthesize ascorbic acid is absent in the insects, invertebrates, and fishes. The biosynthetic capacity started in the kidney of amphibians, resided in the kidney of reptiles, became transferred to the liver of mammals, and finally disappeared from the guinea pig, the flying mammals, monkey, and man. A similar transition in the biosynthetic ability was observed in the branched evolution of the birds.

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