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An enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of RNA molecules into their component nucleotides. RNAses are extremely common in the modern world, resulting in very short lifespans for any RNA that is not in a protected environment.

An RNAse that is commonly used in research is RNAse A. RNAse A is one of the hardiest enzymes in common laboratory useage; one method of isolating it is to boil a crude cellular extract until all enzymes other than RNAse A are denatured.