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Phytoene desaturases occurring in nature convert phytoene to either neurosporene or lycopene in most eubacteria. Approximately 10% of known phytoene desaturases, as in Rhodobacter, produce neurosporene, whereas the rest produce lycopene. These two types of enzymes, although similar in function, have relatively low similarity (below 60%) in terms of nucleotide or amino acid sequence. The mechanism controlling the product specificity of these enzymes is unclear. Here we used directed evolution todoi:10.1074/jbc.m105786200 pmid:11526111 fatcat:nuaehmvunzgjngssfi3mpj4ase