reverse transcriptase


reverse tran·​scrip·​tase -ˌtran-ˈskrip-(ˌ)tās How to pronounce reverse transcriptase (audio)
: a polymerase especially of retroviruses that catalyzes the formation of DNA using RNA as a template

Examples of reverse transcriptase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To make cDNA, researchers take a cell's messenger RNA and, with the help of the enzyme reverse transcriptase, replicate the sequence with DNA's building blocks. Lisa Raffensperger, Discover Magazine, 14 June 2013 Retroviruses, on the other hand, start with RNA and make DNA templates, using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase; the resulting DNA then exploits human cellular machinery to create more copies of the virus. Jill Neimark, Discover Magazine, 7 Nov. 2011 The medications target a unique enzyme in HIV called reverse transcriptase, which then prevents the virus from replicating and infecting cells in the body, Alan explains. Korin Miller,, 9 Dec. 2021 The enzyme, reverse transcriptase, is encoded by LINE-1 elements, sequences that litter 17% of the human genome and represent artifacts of ancient infections by retroviruses. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, 6 May 2021 Similar constructs, dubbed retrons for the reverse transcriptase, were found in many bacteria. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 11 Nov. 2020 At a lab, a technician performs a test often used for flu – a RT-PCR, or reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, 24 Mar. 2020 Viral Detection To determine whether a nasopharyngeal sample is positive for the coronavirus, biotechnicians use a technique known as reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR. Jim Daley, Scientific American, 27 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reverse transcriptase.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reverse transcriptase was in 1971

Dictionary Entries Near reverse transcriptase

Cite this Entry

“Reverse transcriptase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

reverse transcriptase

: a polymerase especially of retroviruses that catalyzes the formation of DNA using RNA as a template

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