Thursday, April 19, 2012

XENO-NUCLEIC ACIDS – alternatives to DNA / RNA

Genetic information storage and processing rely on just two polymers, DNA and RNA, yet whether their role reflects evolutionary history or fundamental functional constraints is currently unknown. With the use of polymerase evolution and design, a Group of Scientists have shown that genetic information can be stored in and recovered from six alternative genetic polymers based on simple nucleic acid architectures not found in nature [xeno-nucleic acids (XNAs)]. They also select XNA aptamers, which bind their targets with high affinity and specificity, demonstrating that beyond heredity, specific XNAs have the capacity for Darwinian evolution and folding into defined structures. Thus, heredity and evolution,
two hallmarks of life, are not limited to DNA and RNA but are likely to be emergent properties of polymers capable of information storage

Read the following articles for more information
Toward safe genetically modified organisms through the chemical diversification of nucleic acids. Chem Biodivers. 2009 Jun ;6(6):791-808.
Synthetic Genetic Polymers Capable of Heredity and Evolution
Pinheiro, et al. Science l 2012: 341-344. View Free Abstract
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