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A species of the type R2C:, in which the carbon atom has two electrons that do not form bonds. Methylene, :CH2, is the simplest example. Carbenes are highly reactive and exist only as transient intermediates in certain organic reactions. They attack double bonds to give cyclopropane derivatives. They also cause insertion reactions, in which the carbene group is inserted between the carbon and hydrogen atoms of a C-H bond:C-H+:CR2 → C-CR2–H

C-H+:CR2 → C-CR2–H

Subjects: Chemistry.

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