Artificial Triple-Helixed DNA: Will It Trigger Unintended Consequences?
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November 16, 2009

Artificial Triple-Helixed DNA: Will It Trigger Unintended Consequences?

6a00d8341bf7f753ef011570bd4ea4970b-320wiCyborgs have been the sci-fi dream of a generation, merging man and machine in amazing new combinations. Most of which seem to look like major action stars. But a team at the University of Copenhagen think that's amateur hour. In fact they find the entirety of life of planet Earth to be distinctly underwhelming, which is why they're working on an upgrade - triple-helixed DNA.

The idea is to add a third Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) strand to the two Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) strands we started with. This ultimate artificial additive can regulate the activity of the existing
genes, blocking some or enhancing others, and that's just for starters: the cyber-strand is not limited to the four letter vocabulary of GATC, meaning that extra characters could be added tothat very exclusive club.

When a team at the Center for Biomolecular Recognition first attempted to install a PNA strand into the "Major Groove" of regular DNA (yes, this concept is so cool that even the scientific terms involved are
funky), they were excited by a surprising and sophisticated effect. Because unintended consequences of far greater complexity than anticipated are exactly what you want to happen in a lab working on
life-capable chemicals.

6a00d8341bf7f753ef011570bd5bf2970b-320wiGene Instead of a single PNA strand joining into the genetic party, two PNAs would muscle out one of the existing strands and create a region of two-thirds artificial triple-tagged helix. The displaced DNA would hang loose outside this region, forming a "p-loop" which has since been found to speed up replication of the structure. Also, the PNA-DNA bonds are stronger than the originals.

To recap: you have artificial cyber-genetics with capabilities beyond those of weak organics, they're stronger, and they can replicate faster. It's clear that this entire branch of science has escaped from a movie somehow, a conclusion strengthened by the fact that the PNA has a ridiculous weakness: water. Yes, just like Signs. No, we don't think it's on purpose.

Inside a squishy organic creature isn't a great place for chemicals that don't like water, and any PNA in a living organism is rapidly excreted - but not too rapidly for it to have effects. PNA has already been used to cure muscular dystrophy in lab animals, meaning that even without a chemical raincoat (which scientists are already working on) it's a powerful tool for controlling the very code of
creation.

Scientists currently researching in the field think waterproofing their work is only a matter of time, meaning that we could be looking at triple-stranded DNA in the future. We still have a long way to go
though - if expository movie computer-graphics can be believed, we need eight to recreate Leloo from the Fifth Element.

It'll be a lot of work, but we're sure you'll agree it's worth it.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Triple-helical DNA

Comments

Cyborgs? There are many of them on the earth.

The cosmos is said to have first evolved machines, then biological coverings for those machines, which can be said to be cyborgs.

Evolving into pure machines would violate Dollo's Law.

Always amazing how we have scientists that work on amazingly difficult areas.
I do not understand why though. They still havn't figured out what everything does in our DNA, RNA, etc. Yet they still try to improve and/or change certain parts of it.
Ofcourse through experimentation you get progress if done right.
But isn't there a better way to research these things, a way without creating the potential dangers/mutations ?
This seems to be a recurring thing though. We tend to 'improve' almost everything without full knowledge on the matter.
That to me is highly irresponsible.
It's as if we're too lazy to start at the beginning.

That´s the spirit! But, curiously, there´s no mention of the hidden powers of the brain; this huge, quantic device, that works miracles when influenced by human willpower in order to achieve goals (eventually such as described above). There are undisputable results to show in the area of healing and tissue regeneration (myself and a 50 year old female dentist; both having learned from different sources how to regenerate shattered kneecaps, and damaged intervertebral discs.
For some reason, ailing people, even having observed the results and without being charged for aid in understanding the rather simple, but necessarily strictly disciplined system developed, shie away from it. Around 100 ailing persons who received free verbal and printed info, have acted as if they had amnesia, when asked about their reason for not using it.
If The Daily Galaxy should be interested, I´m authorizing them to reveal my email.


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