Main results‎ > ‎RNA‎ > ‎1_rna001‎ > ‎

Science rna001

\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).

Take at SFU

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


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:

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.

The network of life: genome beginnings and evolution.
M. A. Ragan, J. O. McInerney, and J. A. Lake (2009)
Phil Trans R Soc B 364, 2169-2175 
   Full Text »    PDF »
The Role of Biomacromolecular Crowding, Ionic Strength, and Physicochemical Gradients in the Complexities of Life's Emergence.
J. Spitzer and B. Poolman (2009)
Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 73, 371-388 
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The dawn of the RNA World: Toward functional complexity through ligation of random RNA oligomers.
C. Briones, M. Stich, and S. C. Manrubia (2009)
RNA 15, 743-749 
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »