Very long chain primary alcohols are significant components in cuticle waxes of plants. Fatty acyl-CoA reductases (FARs) catalyze the formation of a fatty alcohol from an acyl-CoA. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome contains eight genes homologous to FAR genes from jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), silk moth, wheat and mouse. Expression of six Arabidopsis FAR homologs in Escherichia coli resulted in production of alcohols from endogenous E. coli fatty acids by five of these genes, confirming that they encode for FAR enzymes. Only a truncated splicing version of the sixth gene was found, and this gene yielded a protein with no FAR activity. The five functional FAR enzymes yielded distinctly different compositions of fatty alcohols when expressed in E. coli, indicating that the different enzymes may be involved in the production of different types of alcohols in plant cells.