DNA that copies itself

Nucleic acid templates like DNA and RNA usually need to be copied by proteins. They can’t reproduce on their own. But if you believe in an “replication-first” version of the origin of life, you’ve got to suppose that at some point a polymer developed the capability for template-directed reproduction of itself. So can self-reproducing nucleic acid polymers exist? Now we can say, yes they can — it is the latest report from Jack Szostak’s lab at Harvard. Pretty amazing stuff. (And I guess I should say it isn’t actually DNA that is copying itself, but rather 2′-NH2-ImpddNs.)


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