Biological catalysis is dominated by enzymes that are made of protein, but several distinct classes of catalytic RNAs are known to promote chemical transformations that are fundamental to cellular metabolism. Is biological catalysis limited only to these two biopolymers, or is DNA also capable of functioning as an enzyme in nature? To date, no DNA enzymes of natural origin have been found. However, an increasing number of catalytic DNAs, with characteristics that are similar to those of ribozymes, are being produced outside the confines of the cell. An assessment of the potential for structure formation by DNA leads to the conclusion that DNA might have considerable latent potential for enzymatic function.
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