A polymerase is an enzyme (EC 188.8.131.52/7/19/48/49) that synthesizes long chains or polymers of nucleic acids. DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase are used to assemble DNA and RNA molecules, respectively, by copying a DNA or RNA template strand using base-pairing interactions.
Other well-known polymerases include:
- Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase (TDT), which lends diversity to antibody heavy chains
- Reverse Transcriptase, an enzyme used by RNA retroviruses like HIV, which is used to create a complementary strand to the preexisting strand of viral RNA before it can be integrated into the DNA of the host cell. It is also a major target for antiviral drugs.