How Did Replicating and Coding RNAs First Get Together?

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Science  04 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5284, pp. 66-67
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5284.66


The RNA that codes for the delta hepatitis virus is made up of two parts: one that is like RNA viroids and one like a protein-coding sequence. In his Perspective, Robertson discusses the new findings by Brazas and Ganem (p. 90) in this issue of Science that there is a protein in liver cells that is strikingly like the protein coded for by the “protein-coding” part of the delta RNA. This leads Roberston to propose that this part of the delta RNA may have been “captured” from a normal cell, perhaps in the early prebiotic world, by the viroidlike RNA and might also explain the origin of introns.