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Science. 2012 Apr 20;336(6079):341-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1217622.

Synthetic genetic polymers capable of heredity and evolution.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.

Abstract

Genetic information storage and processing rely on just two polymers, DNA and RNA, yet whether their role reflects evolutionary history or fundamental functional constraints is currently unknown. With the use of polymerase evolution and design, we show that genetic information can be stored in and recovered from six alternative genetic polymers based on simple nucleic acid architectures not found in nature [xeno-nucleic acids (XNAs)]. We also select XNA aptamers, which bind their targets with high affinity and specificity, demonstrating that beyond heredity, specific XNAs have the capacity for Darwinian evolution and folding into defined structures. Thus, heredity and evolution, two hallmarks of life, are not limited to DNA and RNA but are likely to be emergent properties of polymers capable of information storage.

PMID:
22517858
PMCID:
PMC3362463
DOI:
10.1126/science.1217622
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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