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First Living Organism with ‘Artificial’ DNA

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Scientists have created the first living organism containing artificial DNA. According to Fox News, the advance one day could lead to new antibiotics, vaccines and other medical products not possible with today’s bioscience. DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses.

A chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, who led the 15-year effort, Floyd Romesberg, says that according to the Huffington Post that, “What we have now is a living cell that literally stores increased genetic information.” Their research appears online today in Nature. DNA is a nucleic acid; alongside proteins and carbohydrates, nucleic acids compose the three major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life.

  
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“This has very important implications for our understanding of life,” said Floyd Romesberg, whose team created the organism at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, according to The Guardian. “For so long people have thought that DNA was the way it was because it had to be, that it was somehow the perfect molecule,” Floyd Romesberg said. According to a report that was published in Nature, the scientists said that they created two additions to the normal genetic code, and then prompted bacteria to incorporate these pieces of man-made DNA with few ill effects. A biochemist Steven Benner at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., who was not involved in the project, reported that “Most people thought this wasn’t possible,” according to a report by Fox News.

Image credit: www.huffingtonpost.com

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