Stable Propagation of Next Natural DNA

Stefan Fincken
May 11th 2014

A team of American scientists created a semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet. Old, natural DNA consists of two distinct base pairs, A-T and G-C. The letters refer to specific sub-units within a pair adenine (A) binds to thymine (T) and cytosine (C) binds to guanine (G) to create the well known double helix.

By adding supplementary sub-units, researchers have been able to create synthetic sub-units to expand the genetic alphabet for a certain amount of time. These artificial base pairs, unable to copy frequently and without fault on their own, are being used to detect viruses.

The unnatural (or next natural, as we prefer) base pair created by the team mentioned above, has been introduced in E. Coli. The created bacterium is the first to propagate stably and reproduce this new and foreign DNA sequence.

The toolbox for synthetic biology is expanding. With the advent of new life forms, structurally different from all that came before, even more so.

Find more on: The Independent

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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