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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Jan 29;125(4):856-7.

DNA polymerase-mediated DNA synthesis on a TNA template.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


TNA, or threose nucleic acid, is capable of Watson-Crick base pairing with DNA, RNA, and TNA; coupled with its chemical simplicity, this suggests that TNA is a possible progenitor of RNA. As an initial step toward developing the molecular tools necessary to investigate the functional capabilities of TNA by in vitro selection, we have screened a variety of DNA polymerases for activity on a TNA template. We report that despite having a repeating unit that is one atom shorter than that of DNA, several polymerases showed surprisingly good ability to copy limited stretches of TNA.

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