News FocusAmerican Chemical Society Spring Meeting

New Genetic Letters Augment DNA, and Soon Perhaps Life

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Science  20 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6079, pp. 292-293
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6079.292-c

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At the ACS meeting, a pair of research groups reported that they now have synthetic nucleotides that can be incorporated into DNA and can be copied with near perfection by enzymes that copy natural DNA. These additions to the genetic alphabet are already enabling researchers to write new chemical functions into DNA, which could help usher in a wide array of biotechnology advances. And they are a critical step along the way to making semisynthetic life forms, written in the first new type of genetic code that life has ever known.