Creation of genetic information by DNA polymerase of the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus

Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Oct 15;26(20):4657-61. doi: 10.1093/nar/26.20.4657.


Genetic information encoded in a template of a genome is replicated in a complementary way by DNA polymerase or RNA polymerase with high fidelity; no creation of information occurs in this reaction unless an error occurs. We report here that DNA polymerase of the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus can synthesize up to 200 kb linear double-stranded DNA in vitro in the complete absence of added primer and template DNAs, indicating that genetic information is actively created by protein. This ab initio DNA synthesis occurs at 74 degrees C and requires magnesium ion. There is a lag time of approximately 1 h and then the reaction proceeds linearly. The synthesized DNAs have a variety of sequences; they are mostly tandem repetitive sequences, e.g. (CATGTATA) n , (TGTATGTATACATACATA) n and (TATACGTA) n . Some degenerate sequences of these basic repeat units are also found. The similar repetitive sequences are found in many natural genes. These results, together with similar results found using DNA polymerase of archaeon Thermococcus litoralis , suggest that creative, non-replicative synthesis of DNA by protein was a driving force for diversification of genetic information at a certain stage of the evolution of life on the early earth.

MeSH terms

  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonuclease I / pharmacology
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences
  • Temperature
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Thermus thermophilus / enzymology*
  • Thermus thermophilus / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA polymerase, Thermus thermophilus
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases
  • exonuclease Bal 31
  • Deoxyribonuclease I
  • Magnesium

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y17475
  • GENBANK/Y17476
  • GENBANK/Y17477
  • GENBANK/Y17478
  • GENBANK/Y17479
  • GENBANK/Y17480
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  • GENBANK/Y17482
  • GENBANK/Y17483
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  • GENBANK/Y17485
  • GENBANK/Y17486
  • GENBANK/Y17487
  • GENBANK/Y17488
  • GENBANK/Y17489
  • GENBANK/Y17490
  • GENBANK/Y17491
  • GENBANK/Y17492
  • GENBANK/Y17493
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  • GENBANK/Y17495
  • GENBANK/Y17496
  • GENBANK/Y17497
  • GENBANK/Y17498