DNA 2.0: A new operating system for life is created New Scientist Life, Feb. 14, 2010
The breakthrough could eventually lead to the creation of new or “improved” life forms incorporating these new materials into their tissue. For example, they could help make drugs that can be taken orally without being destroyed by the acids in the digestive tract, or produce entirely new polymers, such as plastic-like materials; organisms made of these cells could incorporate the stronger polymers and become stronger or more adaptable as a result.
In the genetic code that life has used up to now, there are 64 possible triplet combinations of the four nucleotide letters; these genetic “words” are called codons. Each codon either codes for an amino acid or tells the cell to stop making a protein chain. The researchers have created 256 blank four-letter codons that can be assigned to amino acids that don’t even exist yet.
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February 15, 2010
Synthetic biology marches on