David Baker In an undertaking so computationally demanding it required donated computer time from thousands of people around the world, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have designed and built two functional enzymes never seen in nature.

Enzymes are nature's catalysts, and without them, vital biological tasks like converting sugar to energy or replicating DNA would take cells billions or even trillions of times longer than they do. Researchers have long sought to mimic nature's efficiency by creating custom enzymes that speed up sluggish industrial processes in the production of pharmaceuticals and fuels. The molecules' complexity, however, has hampered their efforts.

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