Tom Cech: Discovering Ribozymes

Cech describes the excitement of doing the experiments that led to the discovery that RNA can catalyze the cutting and rejoining of chemical bonds. Prior to this discovery, most scientists believed that only proteins catalyzed biological reactions. The importance of this work was recognized with the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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Research Paper Discussed in this Talk

Cech, T. R., Zaug, A. J., & Grabowski, P. J. (1981). In vitro Splicing of the Ribosomal RNA Precursor of Tetrahymena: Involvement of a Guanosine Nucleotides in the Excision of the Intervening Sequence. Cell, 27(December), 487–496.

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About the Speaker

Tom Cech has been on the faculty of the University of Colarado, Boulder for more than 30 years. In 2000, he was named president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and remained in this position until 2009. Currently, his lab investigates the structure and replication of telomeric DNA.

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