Scientists have created the first living organism in the world to have a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code
Laboratory microbe, a strain of bacteria normally found in soil and in the human intestine, is similar to its microorganisms. natural cousins but survive on a smaller set of genetic instructions
The existence of an error proves that life can exist with a limited genetic code and paves the way for organisms whose biological mechanisms are designed to produce medicines and useful materials, or to add new functions.
In a two-year effort, researchers at the Molecular Biology Laboratory at Cambridge University read and revised the DNA of the bacterium Escherichia coli E coli Escherichia coli E coli ), before the formation of cells with synthetic version of altered genome
Artificial genome has 4m base pairs, units of genetic code expressed by letters G, A, T and C. Printed in full on A4 sheets, it runs at 970 pages, making the genome the far away that scientists ever built .
"It was quite clear whether it was possible to make the genome so big and whether it was possible to change so much," said Jason Chin, a synthetic biology expert who led the project.
DNA coiled inside a cell stores the instructions it needs to function. For example, when a cell needs more protein for growth, it reads DNA that encodes the correct protein. DNA letters are read in triplets called codons, such as TCG and TCA
Almost all of their lives, from jellyfish to humans, they use 64 codons. But many of them do the same job. A total of 61 codons make 20 natural amino acids that can be strung as beads on a cord to create any protein in nature. Three other codons are basically stems: they notify the cell when the protein is done, as it is at the end of this sentence, as it is at the end of this sentence.