Efficient metal-ion catalyzed template-directed oligonucleotide synthesis

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Science  27 Jun 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4451, pp. 1464-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.6247762


The Pb2+ and Zn2+ ions are efficient catalysts for the polycytidylic acid-directed polymerization of an activated guanylic acid derivative, guanosine 5'-phosphorimidazolide. The products include oligomers of 30 to 40 units in length. The nucleotide residues are predominantly 2'-5' linked when Pb2+ is the catalyst, and predominantly 3'-5' linked in the presence of Zn2+. The significance of these results in the context of the prebiotic evolution of RNA polymerase is discussed.