New Living Organism With Alien DNA Created

Geographic Population Structure (GPS) to trace DNA
  • Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have designed an organism with an expanded artificial genetic code in its DNA. This was achieved by chemically synthesizing 2 new nucleotides, which they named X and Y.
  • All living organisms contain the same nucleotides A, G, T and C in their DNA, and the differential sequential arrangements of these code for various proteins that together help in the functioning of the organism.
  • This artificial X-Y pair was inserted into a bacterium, which then reproduced normally, slowly reproducing the X and Y bit along with its other nucleotides. These extra nucleotides may possibly confer to the bacteria abilities to synthesize novel proteins which allow them to function in a way different from the normal ones.
  • This may eventually develop organisms that make medicines or industrial products such as medicines, antibiotics, and such that cells with only natural genetic code cannot synthesize.
  • It also supports the idea that life can exist elsewhere in the universe using genetics different from that of the earth.
  • However, this is bound to raise ethical and moral questions bring the field of synthetic biology under increased scrutiny, over scientists who are allegedly attempting to play god by engineering new organisms.
  • This may also face unprecedented ethical, legal and regulatory implications as governments haven’t even been able to cobble together the basics of oversight, assessment or regulation for this surging field.
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Exams Perspective:

  1. What is synthetic biology?
  2. Nucleotides
  3. Nucleosides
  4. Genetic Engineering
  5. Biotechnology