Author(s): Robertson MP, Joyce GF
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Abstract An RNA enzyme has been developed that catalyzes the joining of oligonucleotide substrates to form additional copies of itself, undergoing self-replication with exponential growth. The enzyme also can cross-replicate with a partner enzyme, resulting in their mutual exponential growth and enabling self-sustained Darwinian evolution. The opportunity for inventive evolution within this synthetic genetic system depends on the diversity of the evolving population, which is limited by the catalytic efficiency of the enzyme. Directed evolution was used to improve the efficiency of the enzyme and increase its exponential growth rate to 0.14 min(-1), corresponding to a doubling time of 5 min. This is close to the limit of 0.21 min(-1) imposed by the rate of product release, but sufficient to enable more than 80 logs of growth per day. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Chem Biol
and referenced in Gene Technology