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In the depths of the sea, certain shark species transform the ocean’s blue light into a bright green color that only other sharks can see — but how they biofluoresce has previously been unclear. In a study publishing August 8 in the journal iScience, researchers have identified what’s responsible for the sharks’ bright green hue: a previously unknown family of small-molecule metabolites. Not only is this mechanism of biofluorescence different from how most marine creatures glow, but it may also play other useful roles for the sharks, including helping them identify each other in the ocean and fight against microbial infections.

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