Thursday, April 19, 2012

Enzymes grow artificial DNA : Nature News & Comment

Enzymes grow artificial DNA : Nature News: The artificial polymers, dubbed XNAs, carry the normal genetic 'alphabet' on a backbone made using different sugars. Scientists have previously developed XNAs that recognize and bind genetic sequences for experimental and biomedical applications, but is it difficult to make them in large quantities.

“Any time you want another XNA molecule, you’ve got to make more, but you can’t copy what you already made — until now,” says Gerald Joyce, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Holliger and his team engineered enzymes that helped six types of XNA to assemble and replicate genetic messages. The enzymes transcribed DNA into the various XNAs, then back into new DNA strands — with 95% accuracy or more.

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