Thursday, May 25, 2023

History of RNA

Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, plays a key role in turning the instructions held in the DNA of human genome into functional proteins in the body cells. The discovery of RNA began with the discovery of nucleic acids by Friedrich Miescher in 1868 who called the material 'nuclein' since it was found in the nucleus.

In 1933, while studying virgin sea urchin eggs, Jean Brachet suggested that DNA is found in cell nucleus and that RNA is present exclusively in the cytoplasm. His work with Torbjörn Caspersson showed that RNA plays an active role in protein synthesis. Brachet also carried out pioneering work in the field of cell differentiation.

In 1959 Severo Ochoa won the Nobel Prize in Medicine (shared with Arthur Kornberg) after he discovered an enzyme that can synthesize RNA in the laboratory.

At the Institut Pasteur, a team including Jacques Monod, François Jacob and François Gros was looking into the mechanisms involved in reading genetic information.

Their research led them to the conclusion that the expression of the genes encoding these proteins was controlled by regulatory proteins whose activity was dependent on the presence of the sugar. According to their theories, this transmission had to be performed by a type of RNA, which they termed "messenger RNA," a copy of the DNA sequence.

On May 13, 1961, two articles appeared in Nature, authored by a total of nine people, including Sydney Brenner, François Jacob and Jim Watson, announcing the isolation of messenger RNA (mRNA). In the same month, François Jacob and Jacques Monod published a review in Journal of Molecular Biology in which they put mRNA into a theoretical context, arguing for its role in gene regulation.

The sequence of the 77 nucleotides of yeast tRNA was found by Robert W. Holley in 1965. Holley won the 1968 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research.

In 1967 Carl Woese found the catalytic properties of RNA and speculated that the earliest forms of life relied on RNA both to carry genetic information and to catalyze biochemical reactions.
History of RNA

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