Microbial chemical factories provide a renewable pathway to pharmaceuticals, specialty, and commodity chemicals. A large part of constructing a pathway to a desired chemical is assembling the correct enzymes that function together to convert a metabolite into a desired chemical. Aiding the process of discovery are the DNA sequence databases that now contain more than a hundred million genes from over two hundred thousand organisms. Bioinformatics and DNA synthesis enable the identification and access of these functions. In the future, it may be possible to specify a desired chemical structure and then computationally identify those enzymes that will collectively produce the target chemical.
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