According to Scientific American, there are some important innovations happening right now -- from an artificial alternative to DNA, oil that cleans water, pacemakers powered by our blood, and more -- that could have a serious impact on our lives.
New Life-Forms, No DNA Required
Artificial organisms based on man-made molecules could thrive and evolve
DNA is passé. Synthetic biologists have invented an array of new molecules called XNAs that boast all the talents of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), as well as some special powers. XNAs could allow scientists to safely create life-forms in the laboratory that do not depend on DNA to survive and evolve.
"Life is inconceivable without a system for genetic information storage and replication, but DNA and RNA are not unique," explains Philipp Holliger of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. "Related polymers -- at least six more -- can do the same function." That the earth's flora and fauna rely only on DNA and RNA, he says, is an "accident from the origin of life."
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