Added Later: The entire research paper is available Conversion of a Ribozyme to a Deoxyribozyme
through In Vitro Evolution
This is interesting. According to Science Daily scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have successfully converted RNA to DNA through the use of in vitro evolution (we are not talking about translation). From the Science Daily article:
The molecular conversion or transfer of both genetic information and catalytic function between these two different genetic systems, which are both based on nucleic acid-like molecules, is exactly what many scientists believe occurred during the very earliest period of earth’s existence.
This “evolutionary conversion” provides a modern-day snapshot of how life as we understand it may have first evolved out of the earliest primordial mix of RNA-like molecules-sometimes referred to as the “pre-RNA world”-into a more complex form of RNA-based life (or the “RNA world”) and eventually to cellular life based on DNA and proteins.
Incidently, before going further, you kind find an exxplanation of in vitro evolution here.
The importance of this research lies in the transfer of catalytic function from RNA to DNA:
While the transfer of sequence information between two different classes of nucleic acid-like molecules-between RNA and DNA, for example-is straightforward because it relies on the one-to-one correspondence of the double helix pairing, transferring catalytic function is significantly more difficult because function cannot be conveyed sequentially. The present study demonstrates that the “evolutionary conversion” of an RNA enzyme to a DNA enzyme with the same function is possible, however, through the acquisition of a few critical mutations.
This means that similar evolutionary pathways may exist between other classes of nucleic acid-like molecules. These findings could help answer some fundamental questions concerning the basic structure of life and how it evolved over time.
There are several candidates for the initial pre-RNA molecule, all of which have the ability to form base-paired structures with themselves and with RNA. Cross-pairing would allow genetic information to be transferred from these pre-RNA molecules to RNA. The catalytic function of these early enzymes might have been transferred to a corresponding RNA enzyme following the acquisition of a few critical mutations, the study said, just as the evolutionary change of a ribozyme to a deoxyribozyme with the same or similar catalytic functions might also have occurred through random mutation and selection.