DNA 2.0: A New Operating System for Life is Created

DNALinda Geddes writes in New Scientist:

A new way of using the genetic code has been created, allowing proteins to be made with properties that have never been seen in the natural world. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the creation of new or “improved” life forms incorporating these new materials into their tissue.

In all existing life forms, the four “letters” of the genetic code, called nucleotides, are read in triplets, so that every three nucleotides encode a single amino acid.

Not any more. Jason Chin at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues have now redesigned the cell’s machinery so that it reads the genetic code in quadruplets.

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. Now Chin’s team have created 256 blank four-letter codons that can be assigned to amino acids that don’t even exist yet.

Read More: New Scientist

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  • rambocop

    why stop at 4?

  • cedley1969

    Add another twist to the helix and you can have self coding experimental dna, upspiral reads, downspiral writes and the os runs on the back side.

  • cedley1969

    Specific genera would be rendered obsolete, any confrontation would surrender the losers dna to the victor and would lead to a biosphere composed of organisms uniquely predisposed to the situation they found themselves in, any shortfall in advancement could be made up by consuming and reusing the dna of organisms that had experienced scenarios the victor had yet to encounter.

  • cedley1969

    The possibility is infinite, a hexagonal six spiral helix would allow multiple redundancy within an individual cell……

  • cedley1969

    rna transcription could be done using packet protocols similar to an online torrent.

  • cedley1969

    anyhoo has anybody considered using semi permeable membranes as a means of ion propagation for teeny plasma engines?

  • Anonymous

    Failing that and this one is a long shot, the electrolytic breakdown of lactose as a fuel source? Basically using cheeses as fuel cell material?

  • cedley1969

    Failing that and this one is a long shot, the electrolytic breakdown of lactose as a fuel source? Basically using cheeses as fuel cell material?

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