Introduction: The selenium conundrum
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Selenium was first suspected of being an essential dietary trace element in the 1950s. We now know that indeed it is an essential biological element that serves as an integral component of several enzymes, including those in the families of deiodinases and glutathione peroxidases as well as selenoproteins P and W. The multi-author review that follows this introduction concentrates on the important biological role of selenium in enzymes as well as some of the physiological aspects of selenium as either a potential anticarcinogenic agent or insulin mimetic. What should become clear from these contributed articles is the complex and dynamic role that selenium plays in many biological processes and that the investigations in these areas are at the edge of exciting new frontiers.