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IUBMB Life. 2009 Dec;61(12):1101-4. doi: 10.1002/iub.272.

RNA editing in plant mitochondria: 20 years later.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Centre for Comparative Genomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics, Dalhousie University, 5850 College Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


In 1989, three laboratories (in Canada, France and Germany) independently and simultaneously reported the discovery of C-to-U RNA editing in plant mitochondria (1-3). To mark the 20th anniversary of this finding, the leaders of the three research teams have written personal essays describing the events leading up to the discovery in each of their laboratories. These essays are intended not only to capture historical facts but also to illustrate unexpected convergence in the process of scientific discovery, with different groups coming to the same conclusion, often very close together in time, drawing on different types of evidence and via sometimes quite different hypotheses and approaches. Essential background information pertaining to RNA editing in general and RNA editing in plant organelles in particular is provided in this overview.

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