polymerase Any enzyme that catalyses the elongation of a polymeric molecule. RNA polymerases (types I to III) catalyse the synthesis of RNA using as a template either an existing DNA strand (DNA-dependent RNA polymerase) or an RNA strand. Type I is responsible for the synthesis of ribosomal RNA, type II for messenger RNA synthesis (see transcription), and type III for transfer RNA synthesis. DNA polymerases catalyse the elongation of a new DNA strand during DNA replication, using an existing DNA strand as template. RNA-directed DNA polymerase is more usually known as reverse transcriptase.
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