Synthetic XNA molecules can evolve and store genetic information, just like DNA

On Earth, all life is dependent upon the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. But researchers Including those who are wondering how to detect life somewhere other than Earth, have wondered whether other information-bearing polymers might also serve this purpose. Is there something special about DNA and RNA, or did they just happen to be the first things that work? The answer to that question would not only have implications for the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere, but it might have practical implications. Researchers have now taken a major step towards showing that alternatives can actually work as genetic material. They replaced a standard part of nucleic acids with a number of chemical relatives, and found out that they all could work. Sequence information could be shuttled back and forth between these artificial molecules and DNA, and the synthetic materials could even undergo the sort of molecular evolution that has been demonstrated using DNA and RNA. Read the comments on this post

Enzymes grow artificial DNA

Synthetic strands with different backbones replicate and evolve just like the real thing.

Thu 19 Apr 12 from Nature News

Molecular alternatives to DNA, RNA offer new insight into life's origins

Living systems owe their existence to a pair of information-carrying molecules: DNA and RNA. These fundamental chemical forms possess two features essential for life: they display heredity—meaning ...

Thu 19 Apr 12 from Phys.org

Move over DNA: Six new molecules can carry genes

Artificial nucleic acids have proved capable of storing genetic information and passing it on, and some can evolve in the lab

Thu 19 Apr 12 from Newscientist

Synthetic heredity molecules emulate DNA

XNAs might find uses in drugs, studies of life's origins

Thu 19 Apr 12 from ScienceNews

Evolution seen in 'synthetic DNA'

Researchers construct artificial DNA and RNA molecules that interact with their natural counterparts, hinting at a future era of "synthetic genetics".

Thu 19 Apr 12 from BBC News

Synthetic DNA substitute gets its own enzymes, undergoes evolution

On Earth, all life is dependent upon the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. But researchers Including those who are wondering how to detect life somewhere other than Earth, have wondered whether other ...

Sun 22 Apr 12 from Ars Technica

Researchers make alternatives to DNA and RNA

Called 'XNAs,' they have potential to store and pass on genetic information and could help scientists design better drugs.DNA and RNA molecules are the basis for all life on Earth, but they ...

Fri 20 Apr 12 from L.A. Times

Synthetic DNA and RNA that mimics chemistry of life can encode genetic information and evolve

Scientists at UK Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology have successfully managed to create an artificial version of both DNA and RNA, fundamental biomolecules crucial ...

Fri 20 Apr 12 from ZME Science

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