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Science. 2009 Feb 27;323(5918):1229-32. doi: 10.1126/science.1167856. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Self-sustained replication of an RNA enzyme.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry and Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

Abstract

An RNA enzyme that catalyzes the RNA-templated joining of RNA was converted to a format whereby two enzymes catalyze each other's synthesis from a total of four oligonucleotide substrates. These cross-replicating RNA enzymes undergo self-sustained exponential amplification in the absence of proteins or other biological materials. Amplification occurs with a doubling time of about 1 hour and can be continued indefinitely. Populations of various cross-replicating enzymes were constructed and allowed to compete for a common pool of substrates, during which recombinant replicators arose and grew to dominate the population. These replicating RNA enzymes can serve as an experimental model of a genetic system. Many such model systems could be constructed, allowing different selective outcomes to be related to the underlying properties of the genetic system.

PMID:
19131595
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2652413
Free PMC Article

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