Evolutionary “Time Travel” Reveals Enzyme’s Origins, Possible Future Designs

“The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,” Albert Einstein wrote. Perhaps this is nowhere more evident than in protein evolution, where past and present versions of the same enzyme exist in different species today, with implications for future enzyme design. Now, researchers have used evolutionary “time travel” to learn how an enzyme evolved over time, from one of Earth’s most ancient organisms to modern-day humans. The researchers presented their resultson on August 25 at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS Fall 2021 is a hybrid meeting being held virtually and in-person August 22-26, and on-demand content will be available August 30-September 30. The meeting featured more than 7,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

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