La Jolla, CA
Chemists celebrated after publication of a landmark total synthesis - "an efficient 23-step protocol" - in last month's Nature. However, this week's Letters to the Editor brought together variety of single-celled creatures expressing their disappointment.
"I've been making that for thousands of years," remarked a dinoflagellate from the coast of Mexico, "and I only use sugars, sunlight, and water as my reagents. What the heck is a boronate ester, anyway?"
Soil microbes from a remote Pacific island chimed in: "We live our entire lives underfoot, with less than a grade-school education, but when we're pressured? We toss some polyketides past a few enzymes, and boom! Cancer cures, biofilms, antibiotics, anything you want, easy as pie."
A fungus from a tree in the author's backyard added: "If only he'd taken more walks outside, he could have cultured my buddies and found the next great pain reliever. Too bad he loves washing glassware and moving protecting groups so much."