Researchers create custom RNA catalyst

from the RNA-World dept.
Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have created a custom-designed RNA catalyst, or a ribozyme. The ribozyme can use information from a template RNA to make a third, new RNA. It functions with more than 95 percent accuracy, and most importantly, its ability is not restricted by the length or the exact sequence of letters in the original template. The ribozyme can extend an RNA strand, adding up to 14 nucleotides, or letters, to make up more than a complete turn of an RNA helix. The study also provides some insights into the possibility that RNA catalysts were important in the early evolution of living systems. The results are described in the 18 May 2001 issue of Science.

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