1. RNA was synthesized in vitro from a template of bacteriophage T4 DNA, in the presence of Mn2+. A comparison was made of the RNA synthesized by purified RNA polymerase from two sources, Micrococcus lysodeikticus and Escherichia coli; these are referred to as Micrococcus cRNA and E. coli cRNA respectively (where cRNA indicates RNA synthesized in vitro by using purified RNA polymerase and a DNA primer). 2. Both types of RNA were self-complementary as judged by resistance to digestion with ribonuclease after self-annealing, Micrococcus cRNA being more self-complementary (40%) than was E. coli cRNA (30%). The cRNA was found to be much less self-complementary if Mg2+ was present during RNA synthesis instead of Mn2+. 3. Micrococcus cRNA hybridized with a larger part of bacteriophage T4 DNA than did E. coli cRNA. The E. coli cRNA competed with only part (70%) of the Micrococcus cRNA in hybridization-competition experiments. It is concluded that more sequences of bacteriophage T4 DNA are transcribed by Micrococcus polymerase than by E. coli polymerase. 4. The RNA sequences synthesized by Micrococcus RNA polymerase but not by E. coli RNA polymerase are shown by hybridization competition to compete with specifically late bacteriophage T4 messenger RNA sequences. The relevance of this finding to the control of transcription is discussed. 5. In an Appendix, new methods are described for the analysis of hybridization-saturation and -competition experiments. Particular attention is paid to the effects produced if different RNA sequences are present at different relative concentrations. 6. By using cRNA isolated from an enzymically synthesized DNA–RNA hybrid, it is estimated that, of the DNA that is complementary to cRNA, only about half can become hybridized with cRNA under the experimental conditions used.

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