Calling DNA's elegance "overrated," organic chemist Steven Banner has "sketched out better versions of both DNA and its chemical cousin RNA" by adding new letters, reportedly outperforming ordinary DNA.
[...] after decades of work, Benner’s team has synthesized artificially enhanced DNA that functions much like ordinary DNA, if not better. In two papers published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society last month, the researchers have shown that two synthetic nucleotides called P and Z fit seamlessly into DNA’s helical structure, maintaining the natural shape of DNA. Moreover, DNA sequences incorporating these letters can evolve just like traditional DNA, a first for an expanded genetic alphabet.
The new nucleotides even outperform their natural counterparts. When challenged to evolve a segment that selectively binds to cancer cells, DNA sequences using P and Z did better than those without.
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