X-Message-Number: 27619
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 02:08:28 -0500
From: Jonathan Despres <>
Subject: Synthetic DNA/Synthetic Body

The 'genetic alphabet' is composed of four letters (G, C, A, and T)
which form two base pairs as a result of specific hydrogen bonding
patterns. We are interested in expanding the genetic alphabet by
developing a third base pair composed of unnatural nucleobases, as
well as a DNA polymerase to efficiently catalyze the synthesis of DNA
containing three base pairs with high fidelity. We have been exploring
hydrophobicity, as opposed to hydrogen bonding, to control base
pairing. Several unnatural base pairs have been developed which pair
stably and selectively in DNA, and are also synthesized with high
fidelity by DNA polymerases. We are developing phage display methods
for the in vitro evolution of DNA polymerases capable of efficient
synthesis of DNA that contains the unnatural base pairs. Use the links
below to learn more about the project.


Translated from French to English:

Floyd Romesberg is on point to make a major opening in genetics which
could modify our design even life.  This chemist of the Scripps
Institute, in San Diego, comes to develop a synthetic ADN.  After
hundreds of tests, it found a molecule being integrated perfectly in
the genetic code, the fluoro-benzene.  Floyd Romesberg made a success
of with this synthetic ADN the first stage of the expression of a
gene, the replication.  With this synthetic ADN, it dreams to direct
the evolution to produce drugs and industrial nanomol cules.  But its
project raises serious interrogations on the ethical level.  By
creating viable synthetic organizations, it opens the door with
medical and technological applications innovative, but also with new
possibly pathogenic forms of life.

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