High-molecular-weight RNA was isolated from rat brain at various times after the intracranial administration of [32P]Pi. The synthesis of 28S and 18S rRNA could be detected within 1h of the injection of the radioactive precursor and appeared to be more pronounced, relative to other high-molecular-weight RNA, in the brains of older rats compared with those of newborn rats. Polyadenylated RNA, representing most mRNA and their precursors, was isolated by chromatography on oligo(dT)-cellulose. The contribution of this polyadenylated RNA to total RNA synthesis was investigated in the cerebral cortex and the phylogenetically older brain stem at different stages in the development of the rats by using a 5h period of labelling as an arbitrary index of transcription. In the brain stem the proportion of labelled polyadenylated RNA comprised 27-30% of the total RNA. The corresponding values for the cortex decreased from 34% in newborn rats to 23% in 40-150-day-old rats. These data indicated that proportionately more polyadenylated RNA is synthesized in the cortex of the newborn than in the adult rat and that there is a progressive decrease in the synthesis of polyadenylated RNA relative to rRNA during development.

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