Synthetic DNA Created, Evolves on Its Own

All of a sudden, DNA has no reason to feel special. For decades it seemed that only a handful of molecules could store genetic information and pass it on. But now synthetic biologists have discovered that six others can pull off the same trick, and there may be many more to find.

The ability to copy information from one molecule to another is fundamental to all life. Organisms pass their genes to their descendants, often with small changes, and as a result life can evolve over the generations. All known organisms use DNA as the information carrier.

A host of alternative nucleic acids have been made in labs over the years, but no one has made them work like DNA.

Now new synthetic compounds called XNAs can also store and copy genetic information.

And, in a big advancement, these artificial compounds can also be made to evolve in the lab. This is the first time artificial molecules have been made to pass genes on to their descendants. Because the XNAs can do this, they are capable of evolution. Learn more here or here.

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One Response to “Synthetic DNA Created, Evolves on Its Own”

  1. gardenqueen Says:

    That doesn’t necessarily sound like a good thing.

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