PerspectivePROTEIN SYNTHESIS

All You Need Is RNA

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Science  31 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 658-659
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5377.658

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Summary

What does it take to string amino acids together to form a protein? This essential process of life, synthesis of peptide bonds, can be accomplished by naked RNA molecules, as Schimmel and Alexander explain in their Perspective. This notion, bolstered by the results of Nitta et al. in this week's issue, paints a picture of how the first proteins may have been synthesized in an ancient world where RNA molecules were the precursors of life.