Chemical Diversity in RNA Cleavage

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Science  01 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5437, pp. 61-62
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5437.61

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It was quite a shock when it was first discovered that RNA can perform catalysis, sometimes every bit as efficiently as an enzyme. In his Perspective, Westhof now describes new evidence ( Perrotta et al. ) that so-called ribozymes can perform base-catalysis without the assistance of a metal ion. In an early world containing only RNA molecules, the possibilities for chemical reactions were wider than we thought.