Artificial DNA with… 6 letters

Artificial genetic material (DNA) scientists have been able to build scientists in the US for the first time in history. But they did not stop there. While natural DNA contains only four letters of the "alphabet of life" (nucleotides), the artificial contains six allowing it to make much more complex proteins, which are the building blocks of life. This development means that we will soon acquire new types of antibiotics, vaccines, cancer drugs, and materials that do not exist either as an idea today. International financial analysts are rushing to state to Wall Street Journal that with a rough calculation, the new drug market created on the basis of protein and biological agents in four years will have surpassed in 165 billion dollars!

dna

According to the study published yesterday in the scientific journal Nature, scientists say they created the genetic material with two additional nucleotides in relation to natural DNA. The introduction of artificial, amplified DNA was not an easy task, as a special process of incorporation into the microbial cell had to be used, which had some disease effects on the cell. "Ultimately, the microbial cell has recognized it as a natural material," says biochemist Floyd Rumsberg, head of the research team at the Scripps Research Institute at La Jolla University in California.

"Most people thought that what we did was not feasible," says biochemist Steven Benner of the Institute of Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Florida. And that's because most scientists were confident that a normal cell would reject a change in its genetic material. "In this case, it was not just placed inside the cell's core, but it started and worked normally. We can not say that it was not shocking for us either. We did not know that there was so much chance of success, "explains Dr. Benner.

Genetic guidelines, ie if a blonde is born, with blue eyes, if it is predisposed to some illness and anything else we call hereditary, is analytically written in our DNA, which is at the heart of each cell. This code is written with four chemicals (nucleotides), which are also called the "life alphabet". It is Adenine (A) which is chemically bonded to thymine (T) and guanine (G), which is bound to cytosine (C). The combination of these pairs creates the molecular "recipes" to create the amino acids and proteins that are necessary for life.
With the ever increasing knowledge and improvement of computers, scientists can now intervene in the physical storage and information system of life that is not so well locked in every cell.

Today they can easily cut off and bind normal DNA or parts of it to modify plants, bacteria and animals. In addition, they have already used this ultra-small DNA storage unit to encode from books and poems to music, while they have programmed DNA to make calculations made by a personal computer!
With the hope, therefore, to further exploit the potential of DNA, scientists focus on a relatively new field called synthetic biology. So, they are constantly investigating the development of an even wider genetic code that includes 12 bio-letters, something that has not yet been possible in a living organism that can be reproduced.
THE NEW METHOD. In the new achievement, experts have looked for molecules that would have the properties to integrate into the DNA molecule, in particular in the place of natural bases. These molecules should be able to form pairs with each other, as they form the physical bases in DNA double strand molecules.

After thousands of tests in the laboratory, they found two molecules, named d5SICS and dNaM, which met these conditions. Thus, they created synthetic DNA molecules (the plasmids) that contained the natural and artificial bases and introduced them into the E. coli bacterium. The bacterium, however, should be able to create copies of these DNA molecules, a process for which raw materials and specific enzymes are required. The raw materials (nucleotides with the d5SICS and dNaM molecules) were added as catalysts to the bacterial growth medium. Also, experts found that a protein derived from a single-celled organism could transfer these nucleotides to the DNA replication mechanism to place the enzymes in the right place and successfully complete the exercise.

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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