Among the many roles that RNA has in the cell, one of the most surprising is that of an enzyme -- surprising because it has very sparse resources for this role. Yet some extremely important cellular reactions are catalysed by ribozymes, and such species may have played a key role in the evolution of life on the planet. Explaining the mechanistic origins of catalysis has been a challenge to the RNA chemist, but significant progress has been made in recent times. Ribozymes seem to use similar approaches to function as catalysts, but achieve them in different ways.

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