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Haemoglobins have the ability to discriminate between oxygen and other diatomic molecules. To further understanding of this process the X-ray crystal structures of carbonmonoxy and nitrosyl-leghaemoglobin have been determined at 1.8 A resolution. The ligand geometry is discussed in detail and the controversial issue of bent versus linear carbon monoxide binding is addressed. The bond angle of 160 degrees for CO-leghaemoglobin is in conflict with recent spectroscopy results on myoglobin but is consistent with angles obtained for myoglobin X-ray crystal structures.