Oxygen is Nature's perfect reagent. On one hand, it is potentially a very strong oxidant. On the other hand, this potential is caged because the two highest energy valence electrons of the O2 molecule are unpaired. As a result, O2 is relatively unreactive with most other molecules, as almost all of these have paired electrons. Consequently, by modulating the properties of the O2 valence electrons, Nature can generate a reactive species under controlled conditions, catalyzing difficult reactions while still rigorously enforcing specificity. Special sets of enzymes termed oxygenases and oxidases have evolved to perform this task.