World’s First Stable Organism With Modified DNA Created

Posted: Jan 25 2017, 9:01am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
World’s First Stable Organism with Modified DNA Created
Professor Floyd Romesberg (right) and Graduate Student Yorke Zhang led the new study at The Scripps Research Institute, along with Brian Lamb (not pictured). Credit: Photo by Madeline McCurry-Schmidt for The Scripps Research Institute
  • Scientists create World’s Very First Primitive Organism with Modified DNA

Scientists have developed the world’s very first primitive semi-synthetic organism with modified DNA. It is indeed a wonder to behold.

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid contains four bases in ordinary circumstances. They go on to constitute two base pairs, which are the main rungs of the DNA ladder.

Thus we see that the double helix can combine in a number of permutations to form every living thing from ants to aardvarks and cheetahs to chihuahuas. It all ultimately boils down to the self-same conventional four pairs.

Yet that was then and this is now. Scientists recently created the first stable semi-synthetic organism on the face of the planet. This was beyond doubt quite an achievement. A study that took place two years ago, showed that a DNA base pair could be synthesized in case of a particular type of bacteria.

While the four bases known as A,T, C and G were there, the synthetic bases of X and Y were present in its genetic code as well. This unicellular organism held on to its synthetic base pairs as it replicated. The research was published in a journal.

It has a cyborgian quality to it and is life-like in a queer way. Although it has few if any applications in the real world out there, it is a not bad as far as a beginning in the wonderful field of genetic engineering is concerned.

We are getting closer to the real thing. In fact, this process is gaining speed and getting faster as time progresses. For now, drug synthesis may be a sub-field where these semi-synthetic bacteria have a great many applications.

Genomes are strange things. They have to have stability not only for the span of a day but for an entire lifetime. This is a task that only something as hardy and tenacious as life can manage to pull off.

The imperfect effort that has been made recently can be compared to a newly born infant. The adult version of this experiment in the well-springs of life has yet to hit humanity right between the eyes.

CRISPR-Cas9 technology will also bear a great deal of relevance to this field which has been opened up thanks to curious experimentation. This thing called life is hard to pin down since it lies closest to our own makeup. It is rather like trying to look at our noses without the help of a mirror. This is a difficult task as anyone attempting it can tell you.

This research was published online on January 23, 2017 ahead of print in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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