Article: Guided evolution and HIV help create man-made stuff of life

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Robert Karl Sto, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Enzymes stitch together non-natural DNA Guided evolution and HIV help create man-made stuff of life.
    24 February 2004 PHILIP BALL

    Researchers have found new ways to string together artificial DNA bases. The techniques could aid
    the creation of altered genetic material for applications in medicine and technology.

    Floyd Romesberg and co-workers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have
    harnessed the principles of evolution to find an enzyme capable of assembling non-standard DNA.

    In a second study, Steven Benner of the University of Florida in Gainesville and colleagues used an
    enzyme made by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to do the same job. Benner's enzyme is even capable
    of making multiple copies of non-natural DNA, opening up the possibility that the code could
    eventually evolve on its own.

    All natural DNA is made up of just four bases, but researchers have created non-natural bases. These
    can be used to make forms of DNA that are more robust than the natural kind and do not break apart
    when exposed to high temperatures. Such super-DNA could be useful in a wide range of medical and
    technological applications.

    Read the rest at Nature

    Comment: Kids of the distant future will not mess with Meccano or Lego, they won't waste time with
    computer games of our era: they'll create their own custom pets from a raw base splicer - six legged
    fluffy dogs with pink wings are just around the corner :)

    Posted by Robert Karl Stonjek.