Synthesis of complementary DNA. Animation showing the process of synthesis of complementary DNA (cDNA, deoxyribonucleic acid) from a messenger RNA (mRNA, ribonucleic acid) template. In this case, the cDNA is formed by a reverse transcriptase (enzyme) isolated (in test tube) from a retrovirus from a brain (top). An example of a retrovirus is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). By using an RNA template, reverse transcriptase generates a complementary DNA strand through the process of reverse transcription, allowing the retrovirus to integrate with the host's genome. The animation shows an RNA template (AAA, blue) being acted on by reverse transcriptase (pink) to produce the complementary strand (TTT, red). In the second stage shown here, another enzyme (green) removes the RNA template.
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