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In biological systems fatty acids can be synthesised de novo by two distinct fatty acid synthase (FAS) pathways. Human cells follow type I FAS synthesis whereas plants, bacteria and other microorganisms involve FAS II pathway. The mammalian FAS consists of a single gene coding for a polypeptide that contains all reaction centers to produce a fatty acid (Smith et al. 2003). In lower eukaryota, plants and bacteria there are two genes, which products form a multifunctional complex (White et al. 2005). FAS I is usually considered to be a more efficient biosynthetic machine because the enzymatic activities are fused into a single polypeptide template and the intermediates do not diffuse from the complex. However, in contrast to FAS II, which produces diversity of products for cellular metabolism, FAS I produces only palmitate. De novo synthesis is especially active in embryogenesis and fetal lungs, in adults in lactating breasts and endometrium (Swinnen et al. 2006).

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