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Scientists have added two new letters to the genetic code
Material posted: Publication date: 02-12-2017
As is known to encode a huge amount of information in the genetic code, used only 4 nucleic acids: adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. In the genetic code, they are indicated by the corresponding letters A, G, T and C. Thus, we can say that the "genetic alphabet" consists of 4 letters, and until recently it was believed that it cannot be changed, but a group of scientists from the SCRIPPS Institute for the first time managed to Supplement it with two new letters and leave it fully functioning.

In all living organisms the above-described nucleic acids are connected to each other, not anyhow, but according to the principle of complementarity. That is, they seem to "look" at each other, and opposite And must always be preceded by T, and opposite the l – TS, and nothing else. But that's half the battle. These letters need to "shape in words", which are called triplets – specific combinations, thanks to which happen all the highlights like the reading of the information encoding proteins and so on. Several years ago, the journal Science published an article which described the experience in which transfer RNA brought to DNA a new amino acid that has been recognized and embedded in the code. While this acid was the only one that had a pair and a new function not performed.

In the new finding, researchers from the company Synthorx used two new nitrogen bases (labeled X and Y). They are in a double-stranded DNA molecule, located opposite each other, as well as the standard 4 bases, but, unlike them, the "new letters" not connected by hydrogen bonds, and hydrophobic. And built two new grounds in the DNA of the bacteria, the latter to be able to play them, but these bacteria initially shared a little slower than usual and sometimes replaced by new DNA "traditional". Now derived bacteria, which easily reproduce the new DNA. You only have to come up with these letters new triplets.

"If you count how many combinations of triplets can be obtained having the four letters, we get 64 combinations, and by adding just two letters, we are expanding the number of possible genetic words to 216, and the result will be the ability to encode 172 amino acids that just opens up endless scope for bioengineering".

Vladimir Kuznetsov


Tags: science , medicine

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