Radioisotope Uptake as a Measure of Synthesis of Messenger RNA

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Science  01 Dec 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3805, pp. 1186-1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3805.1186


Exogenously supplied radioactive uracil (or guanine) enters the intracellular pools of RNA precursors in Escherichia coli only as nucleotides are removed from these pools by net synthesis of RNA. Consequently uptake of uracil over a short period does not measure the sum of the synthesis of all forms of RNA, unstable and stable, as is often supposed. Uptake of uracil during changing conditions of growth may be influenced by changes in types of RNA's being made; under such conditions that no stable RNA is being made, the synthesis of unstable forms may be greatly underestimated.