Self-sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme
RNA enzymes have been made to undergo self-sustained replication in the absence of proteins, providing the basis for an artificial genetic system.
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 component substrates. These cross-replicating RNA enzymes were optimized so that they can undergo self-sustained exponential amplification at a constant temperature and in the absence of proteins or other biological materials. Amplification occurs with a doubling time of about one hour, and can be continued indefinitely.