Genetic Engineering Uses Synthetic DNA

by Malc on March 4, 2009

DNA3-2k Scientists have used genetic engineering to create a new type of DNA by incorporating eight extra nucleotides – the ‘letters’ of DNA – into it. The eight ‘extras’ are slight modifications of the four nucleotides DNA usually consists of.

The new DNA is structured in a double helix, as DNA usually is.

The result of this genetic biotechnology is a mixture of oil and water in a beaker in a laboratory containing a new, artificial organism. The beaker has to be fed nutrients and alternately warmed and cooled to make the whole thing work.

Within two years, Dr Steven Benner at the American Association for the Advancement of Science hopes to make a self-sustaining version.

The two applications Dr Benner saw for his system were in medicine, and in researching possible alien life. The latter would be helped because it would be useful to study how an alternative system to our own developed.


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