Skip to comments.Four New DNA Letters Double Life’s Alphabet
Posted on 02/27/2019 5:29:17 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The DNA of life on Earth naturally stores its information in just four key chemicalsguanine, cytosine, adenine and thymine, commonly referred to as G, C, A and T, respectively.
Now scientists have doubled this number of lifes building blocks, creating for the first time a synthetic, eight-letter genetic language that seems to store and transcribe information just like natural DNA.
In a study published on 22 February in Science, a consortium of researchers led by Steven Benner, founder of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida, suggests that an expanded genetic alphabet could, in theory, also support life.
Its a real landmark, says Floyd Romesberg, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. The study implies that there is nothing particularly magic or special about those four chemicals that evolved on Earth, says Romesberg. Thats a conceptual breakthrough, he adds.
Normally, as a pair of DNA strands twist around each other in a double helix, the chemicals on each strand pair up: A bonds to T, and C bonds with G.
For a long time, scientists have tried to add more pairs of these chemicals, also known as bases, to this genetic code. For example, Benner first created unnatural bases in the 1980s. Other groups have followed, with Romesbergs lab making headlines in 2014 after inserting a pair of unnatural bases into a living cell.
But the latest study is the first to systematically demonstrate that the complementary unnatural bases recognise and bind to each other, and that the double helix that they form holds its structure.
(Excerpt) Read more at scientificamerican.com ...
Should some knowledge remain unknown?
Oh, and how do they react to methylation?
This could explain Nancy pelousy
What could go wrong?
Why screw with what exists? Why do you need synthetic base pairs when natural ones work as they were were created to?
“It’s moving. It’s alive!!”
The researchers could potentially use their synthetic DNA to create novel proteins as well as RNA.
The problem is: do they code for anything? That is, do they make proteins? Can we incorporate them into tRNA attached to anything that binds?
It's pretty exciting stuff, actually, but building a meaningful protein isn't just getting a sequence right, it's figuring out how the thing folds into a useful morphology. We're taking baby steps here, but they're forward.
Should some knowledge remain unknown?
What could possibly go wrong?
No. Because it will eventually be learned. Also the potential for good is too great to ignore. Curing cancer. Creating new forms of life . Who knows maybe that’s how we arrived on earth. ETs may have sent our building blocks to earth and let the magic happen.
Her extra letters are W, E, I, R and D.
also L I A and R
>>Should some knowledge remain unknown?<<
Only for a while.
But remember what the great Bob Seger sang; “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
“Oops. Looks like we created a prion! Everybody evacuate the lab now!”
So, it seems that we’re 4-bit life forms; and, we may be rendered obsolete by 8-bit life forms. Or not.
And yet there’s still no “gay gene”...
I don’t know much about DNA but I did score well on the GCAT test.
I have read that proteins find the correct folding pattern way faster than pure chance would allow, indicating the proper folding is itself somehow encoded in the DNA. Further a misfolded protein is a prion and is what causes conditions like CJD, Kuru, and Fatal Insomnia.
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