A Place for RNA

The only cellular structures known to possess genomes are the nucleus, mitochondria and chloroplasts. Now researchers find that centrosomes, which help to oversee cell division, apparently possess their own genetic machinery—and curiously, it's not DNA but its cousin, RNA. Scientists collaborating at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., purified five RNA sequences from surf clam eggs. Though abundant in the centrosomes, few to no copies of these RNAs were found elsewhere in the cell, and their sequences were not seen in any genome database. One of the RNAs appears to encode machinery involved in replicating DNA and RNA, which suggests that centrosomes can duplicate their genetic material. Relatively little is known about the inner workings of centrosomes even after a century of study, and the investigators suggest their discovery could explain centrosome evolution and function. The work is online June 5 via the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

or subscribe to access other articles from the August 2006 publication.
Digital Issue $7.99
Digital Issue + All Access Subscription $99.99 Subscribe
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription
as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >


Email this Article