Nature 480,184–185(08 December 2011)doi:10.1038/480184aPublished online07 December 2011 Compounds containing the trifluoromethyl group have many uses, but their isomers must often be made using different multi-step routes. Two studies now show how several isomers can be made by the same route. See Letter p.224 Subject terms: Chemistry The incorporation of fluorine atoms into organic molecules has had a profound impact on the development of new products for numerous industries. This is largely due to the useful properties that fluorine imparts to organic molecules, such as stability and lipophilicity, and the fact that it can modify molecular polarity. Among its many applications, fluorine incorporation has been used in pharmaceutical development to prevent molecules from being metabolized too quickly, thereby allowing a drug to act before it is cleared from the body1. Fluorine has also played an integral part in the development of agrochemicals and high-performance materials2. Two papers, one by Ji et al.3 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the other by Nagib and MacMillan4 on page 224 of this issue, now report innovative methods for introducing an important fluorinated group — the trifluoromethyl group, CF3 — into molecules.