Finding catalytic RNA or ribozymes, Thomas Cech

Interviewee: Thomas Cech. Finding catalytic RNA or ribozymes. (DNAi Location: Timeline>1980s)

I was never interested in RNA, I knew very little about it, would occasionally belittle people in neighboring research groups who were working on RNA, saying why don't you work on something really interesting like DNA. And all of my research was directed towards understanding chromosomes, understanding genes, DNA, maybe interested in RNA only as far as it was the product of the expression of a gene, but not thereafter. So RNA really came looking for us, I think, more than we came looking for RNA. It was really in the course of mapping the RNAs that were produced by a particular gene that I started working on when I set up my first independent research lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder, 1978. Started working on this tetrahymena, it's a ciliated protozoan, a pond animal, tetrahymena gene that was repeated, amplified ten thousand times per cell so it provided a lot of, of the same gene doing the same thing at the same time. I thought it would be a good system for analysis.

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