Enzymes of unknown function are estimated to make up around 25% of the sequenced proteome. In the past decade, over 20 conserved families have been shown to function in the metabolism of 'damaged' or abnormal metabolites that are wasteful and often toxic. These newly discovered damage-control enzymes either repair or inactivate the offending metabolites, or pre-empt their formation in the first place. Comparative genomics has been of prime importance in predicting the functions of damage-control enzymes and in guiding the biochemical and genetic tests required to validate these functions.
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