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First living thing with ‘alien’ DNA created in the lab: We are now officially playing God


Myna

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Scientists have succeeded in creating the first organism with “alien” DNA. In normal DNA, which can be found within the genes of every organism , the twin strands of the double helix are bonded together with four bases, known as T, G, A, and C. In this new organism, the researchers added two new bases, X and Y, creating a new form of DNA that (as far as we know) has never occurred after billions of years of evolution on Earth or elsewhere in the universe. Remarkably, the semi-synthetic alien organism continued to reproduce normally, preserving the new alien DNA during reproduction. In the future, this breakthrough should allow for the creation of highly customized organisms — bacteria, animals, humans — that behave in weird and wonderful ways that mundane four-base DNA would never allow.

This landmark study, 15 years in the making, was carried out by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and published in Nature today [doi:10.1038/nature13314 - "A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet]. In normal DNA, two separate strands are entwined in a double helix. These strands are connected together via four different bases, adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine ©, and guanine (G). A always bonds with T, and C always bonds with G, creating a fairly simple “language” of base pairs — ATCGAAATGCC, etc. Combine a few dozen base pairs together in a long strand of DNA and you then have a gene, which tells the organism how to produce a certain protein. If you know the sequence of letters down one strand of the helix, you always know what other letter is. This “complementarity” is the fundamental reason why a DNA helix can be split down the middle, and then have the other half perfectly recreated. There, I just explained in about 150 words two of the most vital processes to all life that we know of.

In this new study, the Scripps scientists found a method of inserting a new base pair into the DNA of an e. coli bacterium. These two new bases are represented by the letters X and Y, but the actual chemicals are the rather cryptic “d5SICS” and “dNaM.” A previous in vitro (test tube) study had shown that these two chemicals were compatible with the enzymes that split and copy DNA. “We didn’t even think back then that we could move into an organism with this base pair,” said Denis Malyshev, first author of the paper. Fortunately, he was wrong.

Read the full news @ http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/182119-first-living-thing-with-alien-dna-created-in-the-lab-we-are-now-officially-playing-god

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OrbingStorm

Cool;combine it with robots and make something that decides to overthrow its creators.. :s

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"It's a proof that God is no longer the sole creator of men" :P

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