synthetic DNA

two new bases in DNA

By on May 8, 2014 10:02:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ElanaAhova

Join Date 09/2008
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"  ...   The modified E. coli bug produced at The Scripps Research Institute in California incorporates two more bases that were wholly designed in the lab.   The team tells Nature magazine that its altered bacterium could be used to make a range of novel drugs and materials.

Prof Floyd Romesberg and colleagues have been working towards this study result since the 1990s.

They had previously shown how the new bases - known as d5SICS and dNaM, or X and Y for simplicity - could be stably incorporated as a pair into the DNA molecule in vitro, in the "test tube".

The latest advance sees them introduce this supplemented DNA into a living organism.

What is more, the modified E. coli bug is able to copy the extended DNA and pass it down the generations.

'New complexity'

At the moment, the introduced base pair plays no active role in the bacterium's biology. But Prof Romesberg's team plans to change that in the future by giving X and Y some function.

In normal DNA, it is the sequence of the natural base chemicals - which pair adenine (A) with thymine (T); and cytosine(C) with guanine (G) - that encodes the genes.    ...  " 

 

Like so many of the cutting edge bio-techs, this one seems to hold the promise of making new drugs, etc.  However, once released in to nature, what will "mother nature' do with these two new characters in the DNA alphabet?   From four to six - quite an increase in complexity seems on the horizon.  We sure do live in exciting times.  What are your thoughts about this?

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May 8, 2014 10:29:58 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Instead of 4 base pairs (ATCG) now there are 6 bases pairs.

This should allow a lot more information to be stored for the preparation of many new drugs, and more.

This new biotech won't create life forms to replace existing ones, as evolution has been around a long, long time and selected for biosystems using the 4 base pairs.

Indeed, chromosomes have been constructed de novohttp://rt.com/usa/scientist-creat-first-designer-chromosome-965/

This will absolutely pave the way to the 'fixing' of genetic diseases which are fatal, and those which make life a misery. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/exclusive-mice-with-human-chromosomes--the-genetic-breakthrough-that-could-revolutionise-medicine-8701357.html

Glad I'm not the only one bringing new biotech to the community!  

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May 8, 2014 10:45:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I did not know you did biotech.  I thought you are an MD 'practicing' medicine on the rest of us.   

Please do keep on keeping on with bringing new biotech!  Its a wonderful way to 'mend a broken world.'

About the six going into the enviornment:

Yes, Seth, the evolutionary path on earth does seem to be restricted to the four bases in DNA (and a fifth in RNA that substitutes fro one of the four).  Even the extremeophiles that live in ocean water heated way above the boiling point, and in 8 or 10 atmospheres of pressure, with no oxygen, but rather sulfur, use the same four bases.  Finding these organisms that live in such extreme environments (solid ice, the edge of lava, etc.) and using something other than oxygen and sunlight for energy production, indicates that life may also exist in places like Titan. 

One of the things I would live to know is whether this life on places like titan use the same dna base parings Terrestrial life uses.  The coding will probably be different, but is it the same language? 

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May 9, 2014 8:53:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's one of the million (billion? trillion?) dollar questions in biology.  How many ways are there for life to function?  Other life (at least as we define it) will almost certainly be carbon-based, but will it also be based on nucleic and amino acids?  There's evidence that amino acids form very readily in abiotic environments, so there's a good chance that while maybe not all life in the universe is based on them, that a lot will be.

In addition to 4 base nucleic acid pairs for DNA, life on earth consists of only 20 (more or less) amino acids.  Will other life based on amino acids use the same 20 or different ones?  Most likely there'd be some overlap (some of them are pretty simple), but there will undoubtedly be a different total number and Earth-life will have some they don't, and they will use some Earth-life doesn't.  Which means - will we be able to eat alien life for sustenance, and vice versa?

All speculation, of course, but I really hope we have a hint of an answer in my lifetime.  And for that to be true, there'll need to be other life within our solar system.

 

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May 12, 2014 8:26:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I for one welcome our new 6 base pair ecoli masters.  

 

backs out of the room slowly...   

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May 12, 2014 8:41:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

DNA-targeted viruses or bacteria. Yikes.

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May 12, 2014 10:52:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The bacterium makes a desired product, it isn't being targeted (nor are any viruses).

The ability to create super lethal bacteria and viruses has existed for some time (bacteria 'created' by injudicious use of antibiotics).

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May 12, 2014 11:12:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 Quite the biological house of cards we're gluing together.

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May 13, 2014 5:34:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

The bacterium makes a desired product, it isn't being targeted (nor are any viruses).

The ability to create super lethal bacteria and viruses has existed for some time (bacteria 'created' by injudicious use of antibiotics).

The ability to synthesize DNA structure opens up new possibilities of 'made for purpose' pathogens, right?

Sure diseases could be engineered before, but isn't this the kind of breakthrough that makes , say, a virus that only kills those genetically pre-disposed towards religious extremism, even more attainable?

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May 13, 2014 6:37:08 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
Glad I'm not the only one bringing new biotech to the community!
I recently Brought some Biotech as well 

(I just had to say that)

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May 13, 2014 7:17:33 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting davrovana,
Sure diseases could be engineered before, but isn't this the kind of breakthrough that makes , say, a virus that only kills those genetically pre-disposed towards religious extremism, even more attainable?

I'd leave religion out of it, simply because that isn't a proven genetic trait.

Sure, it's possible. It's also redundant...enough plagues are already stored at Ft. Detrick and other places around the world. No real need for more.

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May 13, 2014 1:00:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,


Quoting davrovana, reply 8Sure diseases could be engineered before, but isn't this the kind of breakthrough that makes , say, a virus that only kills those genetically pre-disposed towards religious extremism, even more attainable?

I'd leave religion out of it, simply because that isn't a proven genetic trait.

Sure, it's possible. It's also redundant...enough plagues are already stored at Ft. Detrick and other places around the world. No real need for more.

 

Actually, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that a tendency towards 'religiousness' is in our genetic code.  Many of our fellow primate species have behaviors that look a lot like some of our basic religious customs.  Seems that one species has funerals.  Yes. When a member of the group dies, the Alphas guard the body, allowing only close relatives to approach, cuddle, etc.  Something to consider.  The more we learn and know, the less unique we seem to be.

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May 13, 2014 1:57:29 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Cauldyth,
will we be able to eat alien life for sustenance, and vice versa?

Frankly, ET never looked that appetising... and vice versa, let's hope we're not something they'd consider putting in their mouths.

Quoting DrJBHL,
Sure, it's possible. It's also redundant...enough plagues are already stored at Ft. Detrick and other places around the world.

That's the kind of thing that worries me... deadly contaminant stored in military facilities.  There have been combat fatigued veterans of the Iraq and Afgan wars going ballistic on military based with conventional weapons, so what is there to stop a similarly minded soldier from accessing those 'plague' materials and going on a similar, but more deadly rampage.  And the question would be: is the soldier to blame, or the government for storing such deadly compounds where they could be used?  For mine, it would be the government's fault, for stockpiling those weaponised nasties to begin with.... and thus it should all be incinerated, without question.

As for government not wanting to develop newer chemical/viral WMD's, believe me, if government could take something developed for medical reasons and weaponise it to kiill more effectively over larger areas than its present stockpile, as long as my arse points to the ground [while my feet are on it, that is] government is going to do it.

And for anyone who thinks I'm just being a conspiracy nut, blame Hollywood for that, what with all the movies covering such matters, but there are likely some precedents if one cared to look in the right places [and didn't get caught].

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May 13, 2014 5:16:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,


Sure, it's possible. It's also redundant...enough plagues are already stored at Ft. Detrick and other places around the world. No real need for more.

In my opinion, the CIA would jump at the chance to eradicate Al-Qaeda via microbes. Biological Stuxnet. But that would potentially risk many lives - and given the morality displayed by military intelligence lately, that does not leave me feeling secure.

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May 13, 2014 5:54:04 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting davrovana,
and given the morality displayed by military intelligence lately, that does not leave me feeling secure.

That's exactly it! In fact, 'military intelligence' is quite the misnomer.  Apart from a handful of brilliant military strategists in history, the remainder is quite inept and doesn't have a fechen clue, thus 1000's of conscripts die on the battlefields.  Modern history tells use that war is the most futile of mankind's endeavours... yet the idiot still goes out and declares war on somebody... or joins in on somebody else's conflict simply because a war is happening.

As for the morality of anything military, well that's another highly debatable point.  If one's military were purely for the defense of one's borders, something could be said regarding the greater good, blah, blah, blah.  However, most military bodies in recent history - army, navy, airforce - have been activated to go fight elsewhere, in other nations affairs, and most often it is not genuine assistance of a foreign government, etc, but a self-serving attempt to muscle more power and influence over weaker nations.  And modern warfare is the most vile, hideous and corrupt thing... and we supposedly have become more civilised.

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