The Evolution of Enzymes from Promiscuous Precursors
There are two principle ways to evolve related modern enzymes with specific activities. The first way postulates an ancestral enzyme that catalyzes a specific reaction (e.g. A1 → B1). Following a gene duplication event, one of the copies evolves an enzyme that catalyzes a completely different (but chemically related) reaction: A2 → B2.
Most people think that this is by far the most common pathway. That's because they are used to thinking that enzymes are highly specific—that's what's emphasized in most biochemistry courses. They think that it should be possible to reverse engineer the evolutionary pathway on the right-hand branch and thus transform one enzyme to another.
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