Reverse Transcriptase - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 4 pages of information about Reverse Transcriptase.
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Reverse Transcriptase

Reverse transcriptase is the replication enzyme of retroviruses. Because it polymerizes DNA precursors, reverse transcriptase is a DNA polymerase. However, whereas cellular DNA polymerases use DNA as a template for making new DNAs, reverse transcriptase uses the single-stranded RNA in retroviruses as the template for synthesizing viral DNA. This unusual process of making DNA from RNA is called "reverse transcription" because it reverses the flow of genetic information (from DNA to RNA, rather than from RNA to DNA found in transcription). Because reverse transcriptase is essential for retroviruses such as HIV-1 (the virus that causes AIDS), it is the target of many antiretroviral therapeutics. Reverse transcriptase is also a molecular tool used in the cloning of genes and the analysis of gene expression.

Discovery

Retroviruses were originally known as RNA tumor viruses because they have RNA, not DNA, genomes, and because they were the first viruses...

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This section contains 1,099 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Reverse Transcriptase Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Genetics
Reverse Transcriptase from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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