Lipoxygenases are a class of dioxygenases that form hydroperoxy fatty acids with distinct positional and stereo configurations. Several amino acid residues influencing regiospecificity have been identified, whereas the basis of stereocontrol is not understood. We have now identified a single residue in the lipoxygenase catalytic domain that is important for stereocontrol; it is conserved as an Ala in S lipoxygenases and a Gly in R lipoxygenases. Our results with mutation of the conserved Ala to Gly in two S lipoxygenases (mouse 8S-LOX and human 15-LOX-2) and the corresponding Gly-Ala substitution in two R lipoxygenases (human 12R-LOX and coral 8R-LOX) reveal that the basis for R or S stereo-control also involves a switch in the position of oxygenation on the substrate. After the initial hydrogen abstraction, antarafacial oxygenation at one end or the other of the activated pair of double bonds (pentadiene) gives, for example, 8S or 12R product. The Ala residue promotes oxygenation on the reactive pentadiene at the end deep in the substrate binding pocket and S stereochemistry of the product hydroperoxide, and a Gly residue promotes oxygenation at the proximal end of the reactive pentadiene resulting in R stereochemistry. A model of lipoxygenase reaction specificity is proposed in which product regiochemistry and stereochemistry are determined by fixed relationships between substrate orientation, hydrogen abstraction, and the Gly or Ala residue we have identified.