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The alcohols serve as building blocks, or precursors, for molecules called carboxylic esters, which impart fruity flavors.
The two genes are derived from a modified line of mouse immune-system cells that other Scripps researchers had developed to produce unusual, catalytic antibodies that not only bind to specific chemical targets called carboxylic esters, but also chemically slice them in two (SN: 9/2/89, p.152).
The Scripps grou psynthesized compoundscalled phosphonates esters, which resemble the biologically vital structures called carboxylic esters in their transition states as they undergo cleavage by water, or hydrolysis.