The thylakoid membranes of oxygenic photosynthetic organisms are dominated by the galactolipids monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG). In cyanobacteria, MGDG is synthesized via monoglucosyldiacylglycerol (GlcDG). However, the putative epimerase involved in the conversion of GlcDG to MGDG has not been identified. Here we report the identification of the gene for the glucolipid epimerase (mgdE) by comparative genomic analysis. Knockout mutants of mgdE in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 lacked both MGDG and DGDG and accumulated GlcDG. The mutants did possess thylakoid membranes and showed normal maximal photosynthetic activity, albeit with reduced utilization of light energy. These results cast doubt on the long-standing belief that oxygenic photosynthesis is absolutely dependent on galactolipids.