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\bibitem{rna001} Tracey A. Lincoln and Gerald F. Joyce. Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme // Science, Vol. 323. no. 5918, pp. 1229 - 1232 (27 February 2009).

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Published Online January 8, 2009
Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1167856

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Submitted on October 29, 2008
Accepted on December 23, 2008

Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme

Tracey A. Lincoln 1 and Gerald F. Joyce 1*

1 Departments of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Gerald F. Joyce , E-mail: gjoyce@scripps.edu

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 one 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.


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