The evolution of life on our small blue planet is amazing. Regardless you’re a fan of Darwin’s theories or of Creationism, you have to admit that the evolution of life is astonishing. Also amazing is the result of a genetical alteration of a microbe’s DNA structure during an experiment designed to elevate genetics knowledge to a higher level.
Each life form is made of cells and each cell contains a genetic code that dictates the characteristics of specific life forms. This genetic code is naturally made of only 4 base pairs, named by scientists as A, T, G, and C. Using these pairs, a cell is capable of creating the proteins needed for building a life form.
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute managed to add 2 synthetic base pairs, called X and Y, to a microbe’s DNA structure. The microbe is capable of reading all its 6 base pairs and it seems to be producing proteins that couldn’t be found elsewhere in nature. Scientists consider this is a huge step forward and think that their discoveries’ implications in medication industry will be massive.
The team of researchers had to pass over some big obstacles before reaching to such impressive results. The experiments began in 2014 when the team of scientists tried to add the synthetic extra pairs to E.Coli strains. Unfortunately, the genetically modified E.Coli strains were unstable and eliminated the added base pairs after dividing.
It was only last year, in 2017, when the researchers discovered that altering the immune system of the microbes can stabilize them and prevent them from eliminating the added base pairs to their DNA structure.
The findings of this experiment if can be replicated on a larger scale can rewrite everything we know about how proteins work and can have a huge impact on medication production industry as new protein drugs can be created.