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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Researchers discover unique property of critical methane-producing enzyme

An unexpected discovery has given scientists a greater understanding of an important methane-producing enzyme.

A team of IGB researchers published a paper in eLife that outlined their findings on an enzyme called methyl-coenzyme M reductase, or MCR.

Their findings overturn what was previously believed to be true in the field: that a set of unique modifications present in MCR were essential to how the enzyme functions.

Study identifies prime source of ocean methane

Up to 4 percent of the methane on Earth comes from the ocean’s oxygen-rich waters, but scientists have been unable to identify the source of this potent greenhouse gas. Now researchers report that they have found the culprit: a bit of “weird chemistry” practiced by the most abundant microbes on the planet.

The findings appear in the journal Science.

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