HUGE! 1st Living Organism Created with Alien DNA – Is Man Playing God?
Scientists have successfully created the first organism with “alien” DNA. For thousands of years, life has been written with only four letters—adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G), which are the names given to the DNA subunits contained in all organisms. This “normal” DNA consists of twin strands of double helix that are bound together with these four bases (A, T, C, and G). In the new ‘alien’ organism, scientists have added two new bases called, X and Y, manufacturing a new form of DNA that has never transpired before. With the construction of this living cell that has two ‘foreign’ DNA building blocks in its genome, life’s alphabet has expanded.
Extraordinarily, this “alien” organism persisted to reproduce normally, preserving the alien DNA during reproduction.
Scientists are calling this a miraculous breakthrough and claiming that the work is a one step closer to not only the synthesis of cells able to churn out drugs and other molecules, but also the possibility that one day cells can be genetically modified without any of the four DNA bases used on Earth.
Leading to vastly customized organisms—bacteria, animals, and humans that conduct themselves in strange ways….drawing a thin line between man and God.
This unique 15 year study was carried out by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California and published in Nature today.
According to Floyd Romesberg, one of the researchers at the Institute, “What we have now is a living cell that literally stores increased genetic information.”
The bases created by Romesberg’s team took more of an alien appearance than a natural one.
“In a 2008 paper, and in follow-up experiments, the group reported efforts to pair chemicals together from a list of 60 candidates and screened the 3,600 resulting combinations. They identified a pair of bases, known as d5SICS and dNaM, that looked promising. In particular, the molecules had to be compatible with the enzymatic machinery that copies and translates DNA.” http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja078223d
With these test-tube experiments, the scientists accomplished getting their alien base pair to duplicate itself and be transcribed into RNA.
The main challenge in attempting to create this alien life was getting the cells to recognize the alien bases, X and Y. After the team manufactured the bacterium Escherichia coli, it aided them to process the molecules thorough the bacterium’s membrane by inserting the ‘alien’ bases into the E. Coli cells who then transferred them through the membrane. Once in, the E. Coli cells replicated themselves and when the supply of alien nucleotides ran out, the bacteria replaced the alien bases with natural ones.
Romesberg’s group is planning on continuing their research, he states, “If you read a book that was written with four letters, you’re not going to be able to tell many interesting stories but, If you’re given more letters, you can invent new words, you can find new ways to use those words and you can probably tell more interesting stories.”
Therefore they are working on obtaining alien DNA to encode proteins that have amino acids—that areencoded by codons of three DNA letters apiece—other than the 20 that make up all natural proteins. Which means these alien DNA could expand the cells ability to make new amino acids…again drawing a thin line between man and God.
While this research could aid in cancer breakthroughs it also has likely devastating effects on the population. Like the introduction of new species and gene modifications that could wreak havoc on the population performing God only knows what! And maybe even the possibility of creating synthetic organisms that contain dozens of pairs of DNA to the point where the human race becomes unrecognizable.