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RNA. 2005 Aug;11(8):1173-80. Epub 2005 Jun 29.

New ligase-derived RNA polymerase ribozymes.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research/Biology Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The search is underway for a catalytic RNA molecule capable of self-replication. Finding such a ribozyme would lend crucial support to the RNA World hypothesis, which holds that very early life-forms relied on RNA for both replicating and storing genetic information. We previously reported an RNA polymerase isolated from a pool of variants of an existing RNA ligase ribozyme. Here we report eight additional ligase-derived polymerase ribozymes isolated from this pool. Because each of them is a new potential starting point for further in vitro evolution and engineering, together they substantially enrich the set of candidates from which an RNA replicase ribozyme might eventually emerge.

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