Four new DNA letters double life’s alphabet


(Jordan Mantha) #1

A team creates an 8 base version of DNA that can undergo transcription.

Here’s a summary article from Nature.

Here’s the main research article at Science:

Is this significant to understand how narrow the requirements are for the “code” of life?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #2

I think so. This seems to definitively demonstrate that ATGC-base DNA is not the only possible genetic structure there is. This strengthens the case for universal common descent. Beautiful work.

Check out the chemistry here.

(Nicholas Troendle) #3

I agree. If other bases are equally suitable as the components of genetic code, there would be no reason to assume that individual special creation of species might not use some of those alternative bases. But this isn’t what we see.

(Jordan Mantha) #4


An enzyme (T7 polymerase) was adapted by the researchers to be used in vitro to transcribe hachimoji DNA into hachimoji RNA, which, in turn, produced chemical activity in the form of a glowing green fluorophore.

Holy cow, that is amazing! That’s a lot further than I would have guessed. Also, that Wikipedia page is 3 days old (5 days after the article was published), what a time we live in.