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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. It was quite a shock when it was first discovered that RNA can perform catalysis, sometimes every bit as efficiently as an enzyme. In his Perspective, Westhof now describes new evidence (Perrotta et al.) that so-called ribozymes can perform base-catalysis without the assistance of a metal ion. In an early world containing only RNA molecules, the possibilities for chemical reactions were wider than we thought.
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