Open Access

Hammerhead selection

  • Jonathan B Weitzman
Genome Biology20012:spotlight-20011102-01

DOI: 10.1186/gb-spotlight-20011102-01

Published: 02 November 2001

Hammerhead ribozymes with self-cleaving properties have been found in a range of organisms, including plants, newts, schistosomes and cave crickets. In the November 1 Nature, Salahi-Ashtiani and Szostak of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital describe an in vitro system to address the origins of hammerhead ribozymes (Nature 2001, 413:82-84). They used a DNA collection encoding large random-sequence RNAs to select self-cleaving RNAs. Repeated rounds of selection lead to the artificial evolution of self-cleaving molecules. Of these, several have sequence features of hammerhead ribozymes. The authors suggest that the hammerhead ribozyme is the simplest RNA motif with self-cleaving abilities, which explains why it has been selected repeatedly during evolution.

References

  1. Self-cleaving catalytic RNA
  2. Nature, [http://www.nature.com]
  3. Howard Hughes Medical Institute , [http://www.hhmi.org]
  4. Massachusetts General Hospital , [http://www.mgh.harvard.edu]

Copyright

© BioMed Central Ltd 2001

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