Jack W Szostak

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Gene conversion is the nonreciprocal transfer of information from one DNA duplex to another; in meiosis, it is frequently associated with crossing-over. We review the genetic properties of meiotic recombination and previous models of conversion and crossing-over. In these models, recombination is initiated by single-strand nicks, and heteroduplex DNA is(More)
We describe a general assay designed to detect mutants of yeast that are defective for any of several aspects of telomere function. Using this assay, we have isolated a mutant that displays a progressive decrease in telomere length as well as an increased frequency of chromosome loss. This mutation defines a new gene, designated EST1 (for ever shorter(More)
An iterative in vitro selection procedure was used to isolate a new class of catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) from a large pool of random-sequence RNA molecules. These ribozymes ligate two RNA molecules that are aligned on a template by catalyzing the attack of a 3'-hydroxyl on an adjacent 5'-triphosphate--a reaction similar to that employed by the familiar(More)
It has been proposed that the initiation of meiotic recombination involves either single-strand or double-strand breaks in DNA. It is difficult to distinguish between these on the basis of genetic evidence because they give rise to similar predictions. All models invoke initiation at specific sites to explain polarity, which is a gradient in gene conversion(More)
The clay montmorillonite is known to catalyze the polymerization of RNA from activated ribonucleotides. Here we report that montmorillonite accelerates the spontaneous conversion of fatty acid micelles into vesicles. Clay particles often become encapsulated in these vesicles, thus providing a pathway for the prebiotic encapsulation of catalytically active(More)
DNA molecules that integrate into yeast chromosomes during yeast transformation do so by homologous recombination. We have studied the way in which circular and linear molecules recombine with homologous chromosomal sequences. We show that DNA ends are highly recombinogenic and interact directly with homologous sequences. Circular hybrid plasmids can(More)
We have used an iterative in vitro genetic selection to identify the important structural features of the viral RNA element bound by the Rev protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Functional Rev-binding RNAs were selected from a pool of 10(13) variants of the wild-type Rev-binding domain. Bases conserved among the binding species define a(More)
Meiosis-specific double-strand breaks occur at the initiation site for meiotic gene conversion in the yeast ARG4 gene. Here we show that the break fragments end in extensive 3'-overhanging, single-stranded tails. The single-stranded tails very in length, generating a gradient of single-strandedness that parallels the gradient of gene conversion frequencies(More)
synthetic life form is to imagine a collection of molecules that is simple enough to form by self-assembly, yet sufficiently complex to take on the essential properties of a living organism. Any ‘stripping-down’ of a present-day bacterium to its minimum essential components still leaves hundreds of genes and thousands of different proteins and other(More)