1. Ecology
  2. Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
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Biochemistry: Shedding light on sunscreen biosynthesis in zebrafish

  1. Carolyn A Brotherton
  2. Emily P Balskus  Is a corresponding author
  1. Harvard University, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e07961 doi: 10.7554/eLife.07961
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Many species produce small molecules that protect them from the sun by absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The genome of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) contains a cluster of genes for a set of proteins that can make the sunscreen compound gadusol from sedoheptulose-7-phosphate. Microbes also use this molecule to make sunscreen compounds, but do so via a different pathway. The cluster of genes found in zebrafish is also present in several other vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles and birds.

FIGURE CREDIT: Photograph taken by kamujp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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