03 July 2008

Artificial DNA: Creating Alien Life on Earth

All life on Earth is based upon the same basic DNA template. Now Japanese chemists have succeeded in building double stranded DNA (even triple stranded DNA!) from artificial nucleic acids.
Until now, scientists have only been able to craft DNA molecules with one or a few artificial parts, including certain bases.

The researchers used high-tech DNA synthesis equipment to stitch together four entirely new, artificial bases inside the sugar-based framework of a DNA molecule. This resulted in unusually stable, double-stranded structures resembling natural DNA. Like natural DNA, the new structures were right-handed and some easily formed triple-stranded structures. The unique chemistry of these structures and their high stability offer unprecedented possibilities for developing new biotech materials and applications, the researchers say.

...The finding could lead to improvements in gene therapy, futuristic nano-sized computers, and other high-tech advances, they say. Their study is scheduled for the July 23 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication __Nanowerk
In order to create an entirely new system incorporating the new DNA, the researchers would need to create artificial RNA and artificial ribosomes that work together to produce artificial peptides and proteins--or protein analogs.

Artificial systems of DNA / RNA / Ribosomes / Proteins / Glycoproteins etc. could be an important bridge to a more versatile and prolific molecular nanotechnological assembler complex. It should be possible to get around some of the greatest limitations of current enzymes using specially designed artificial amino acids and amino acid analogs.

It took nature a billion years or so to work out the system we have. Only about 55 years have passed since Watson and Crick announced their discovery. I expect significant progress toward integrated systems of artificial DNA, RNA, and protein analogs before 2030.

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2 Comments:

Blogger SwampWoman said...

When I was small, I read different sci-fi novels predicting gene manipulation and fantastical human/animal hybrids. I never thought that I'd ever actually live in the time that it was actually plausible.

Saturday, 05 July, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

If these scientists can develop a complete system of coding and assembly based upon artificial nucleic acids and amino acids, it will open the door to some incredible creations.

What do you think about the human-pig hybrids they are developing in the UK? Do you agree with the Baron that some Muslims may be a bit hamophobic over the whole thing?

Sunday, 06 July, 2008  

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