Nontemplate polymerization of free nucleotides into genetic elements by thermophilic DNA polymerase in vitro.

Abstract:

DNA synthesis is the cornerstone of all life forms and is required to replicate and restore the genetic information. Usually, DNA synthesis is carried out only by DNA polymerases semiconservatively to copy preexisting DNA templates. We report here that DNA strands were synthesized ab initio in the absence of any DNA or RNA template by thermophilic DNA polymerases at (a) a constant high temperature (74°C), (b) alternating temperatures (94°C/60°C/74°C), or (c) physiological temperatures (37°C). The majority of the ab initio synthesized DNA represented short sequence blocks, repeated sequences, intergenic spacers, and other unknown genetic elements. These results suggest that novel DNA elements could be synthesized in the absence of a nucleic acid template by thermophilic DNA polymerases in vitro. Biogenesis of genetic information by thermophilic DNA polymerase-mediated nontemplate DNA synthesis may explain the origin of genetic information and could serve as a new way of biosynthesis of genetic information that may have facilitated the evolution of life.

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