Two major strategies for generating novel biological catalysts exist. One relies on our knowledge of biopolymer structure and function to aid in the 'rational design' of new enzymes. The other, often called 'irrational design', aims to generate new catalysts, in the absence of detailed physicochemical knowledge, by using selection methods to search a library of molecules for functional variants. Both strategies have been applied, with considerable success, to the remodeling of existing ribozymes and the development of ribozymes with novel catalytic function. The two strategies are by no means mutually exclusive, and are best applied in a complementary fashion to obtain ribozymes with the desired catalytic properties.