An enzyme that synthesizes a single strand of DNA from deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates, using RNA molecules as templates. Such enzymes occur in oncogenic RNA viruses. This class of enzymes, also known as reverse transcriptases, can be used experimentally to make complementary DNA (cDNA) from purified RNA. The functioning of these polymerases contradicts the central dogma (q.v.) in the sense that the direction of information exchange between DNA and RNA is reversed. See Chronology, 1970, Baltimore, Temin and Mizutani; Rous sarcoma virus (RSV), telomerase.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.