Maize (Zea mays) produces a plethora of antibiotics called zealexins. These compounds protect maize by fending off fungal and microbial infections. Scientists had assumed that maize synthesizes these compounds via clear, straight pathways, entailing the function of more than a dozen enzymes. But now, with the help of JGI’s DNA synthesis capability, researchers know that just a handful of enzymes are needed to transform zealexins and related precursors into a bonanza of diverse structures. Read more of the science highlight on the JGI website.