From RNA to DNA, why so many ribonucleotide reductases?

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Science  18 Jun 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5115, pp. 1773-1777
DOI: 10.1126/science.8511586


It is generally accepted that DNA appeared after RNA during the chemical evolution of life. To synthesize DNA, deoxyribonucleotides are required as building blocks. At present, these are formed from the corresponding ribonucleotides through the enzymatic action of ribonucleotide reductases. Three classes of enzymes are present in various organisms. There is little sequence similarity among the three classes of reductases. However, enzymic mechanisms and the allosteric behavior of the enzymes from various organisms are strongly conserved, suggesting that the enzymes might have evolved from a common ancestor, with the class III anaerobic Escherichia coli reductase as its closest relative.

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