The past several years have seen a virtual revolution in the study of eukaryotic mRNA. Among the notable recent achievements are the positive identification of mRNA precursors in HnRNA, the enumeration of the DNA sequences from which mRNA is transcribed, and the finding that mRNA in cultured cells is much more stable than was previously believed. One of most far-reaching discoveries has been the finding that mRNA in eukaryotes contains poly A. This discovery, aside from providing a powerful tool for mRNA isolation, has generated a large body of research into the properties and metabolism of poly A itself. In addition, the finding of a poly A-associated protein has given a renewed stimulus to the study of proteins associated with mRNA. This review is devoted to a discussion of these and related achievements, and some of their implications

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