Deoxyribonucleic acid or more commonly known as DNA is a molecule that dictates how an organic body is going to evolve as far as development, growth, reproduction, and functions are concerned. Such compounds are essential for any form of life, and it has been the main obstacle for scientists who wanted to recreate a living presence in laboratories. The DNA is always formed by four nitrogenous base units, namely adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine. However, a new team managed to create synthetic life as of recently.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication has just released a new research from the Scripps Research Institute from the USA. The American team of scientists has just succeeded to create a new kind of bacterium. This unprecedented experiment was possible thanks to the fact that the researchers found a way to add two synthetic nitrogenous base units beside the four natural ones. Floyd Romesberg, one of the authors of the paper, stated that he and his colleagues managed to manufacture a single-celled organism. The synthetic life can survive for an indefinite period of time.
In order to maintain its integrity, the semi-synthetic organism has to hold on to its Y and X unnatural molecules in order to survive. Until now, the organism was able to divide for 60 times without degenerating. This study can revolutionize the way scientists work with proteins. If the synthetic life continues to survive, the scientific world will win a new method of modifying the existing organisms. This will enable them to repurpose an organic body with a focus on a more useful skill. For instance, some practical implementations of this discovery can be the creation of powerful treatments for different illnesses, altering proteins for new drugs, or producing biomaterials.
Even though the organism couldn’t keep its UPB after several cell divisions, this remains an important milestone for science. This is the first time in history when scientists expanded the DNA helix to create synthetic life. After three years of trying to inject the unnatural molecules into a living organism, the researchers finally found a viable body in E. coli. These organisms were the only ones who accepted X and Y units as natural compounds. From now on, the team will focus on how to use this discovery to the benefit of humanity.
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