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By identifying two genes required for transforming inorganic into organic mercury, which is far more toxic, UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists today have taken a significant step toward protecting human health. The question of how methylmercury, an organic form of mercury, is produced by natural processes in the environment has stumped scientists for decades, but a team comprised of four researchers at UT has solved the puzzle.  UT contributors included Jeremy Smith, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics and director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics at ORNL, and UT-ORNL researchers Mircea Podar, Steven Brown, and Dwayne Elias. The findings were released today in Science. To read more, visit ORNL’s website.