RNA can be much more than a passive transmitter of genetic information. It can also act as an enzyme that directly participates in cellular biochemistry. In four lectures, Dr. Thomas R. Cech tells the story of the discovery of RNA catalysis—research that led to his receiving the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He explores why RNA's ability both to store genetic information and to catalyze biochemical reactions lends plausibility to the theory that RNA had a central role in the origin of life. Dr. Cech also reveals how the ability of RNA catalysts (ribozymes) to cut and splice RNA molecules has sparked efforts to develop them as new therapeutic agents against viruses, cancer, and genetic diseases.
DVD includes detailed chapter search by scientific topic, direct access to animations, English subtitles, interview with the speaker, special features on RNA interference, telomeres, and RNA structures, and a NOVA scienceNOW feature on RNA interference.
Presented at the 1995 Holiday Lectures on Science. Lecture time approx. 240 min.