Reverse Transcription

In 1970 it was discovered that retroviruses could copy DNA from an RNA sequence

  • These viruses possess an enzyme (reverse transcriptase) that allows for reverse transcription to occur
  • Reverse transcription is now commonly used in scientific studies to establish gene expression profiles


  • Complementary DNA (cDNA) is a molecule synthesised from an mRNA template via reverse transcription
  • cDNA molecules represent gene sequences that are actively transcribed by a cell (as they were synthesised from mRNA) 
  • This makes them a valuable tool for determining expression patterns of proteins in normal and diseased states
  • cDNA molecules are also commonly used in gene transfer experiments as they do not possess introns


central dogma