301 glycosyl hydrolases and related enzymes corresponding to 39 EC entries of the I.U.B. classification system have been classified into 35 families on the basis of amino-acid-sequence similarities [Henrissat (1991) Biochem. J. 280, 309-316]. Approximately half of the families were found to be monospecific (containing only one EC number), whereas the other half were found to be polyspecific (containing at least two EC numbers). A > 60% increase in sequence data for glycosyl hydrolases (181 additional enzymes or enzyme domains sequences have since become available) allowed us to update the classification not only by the addition of more members to already identified families, but also by the finding of ten new families. On the basis of a comparison of 482 sequences corresponding to 52 EC entries, 45 families, out of which 22 are polyspecific, can now be defined. This classification has been implemented in the SWISS-PROT protein sequence data bank.

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