Two genes required for this mercury methylation have been identified in bacteria and archaea. These genes are the hgcA gene and hgcB, a corrinoid protein that facilitates methyl group transfer to Hg, and a corrinoid protein-associated ferredoxin with two [4Fe-4S] binding motifs involved in generating cob(I)almin, respectively. The invention provides nucleic acid probes and primers for detecting methylmercury and or for assessing mercury methylation potential in environmental, clinical and other samples. The invention also provides antibodies against these proteins, antibodies against these proteins, methods of using the antibodies and methods of biocatalysis.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
 This invention was made with government support under Prime Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.