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Friday, July 24, 2015

Revolutions in genetics - again, part two

A previous post considered new techniques in genetic engineering, and pointed to some discussions of these techniques. This one considers another type of revolution in genetics.

A recent report in Wired indicates that some scientists have figured out how to add additional Nitrogen bases to the standard Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine found in the organisms around us, including ourselves. It seems too early to predict what, if any, impact this will have on our lives, but it is possible that this revolution, still in its infancy, will have consequences that are far-reaching.

Adding new bases has the potential of making DNA more efficient at its job, which is carrying hereditary information -- more information in less space. This would be something like adding a few new letters to ordinary English. One question, as with adding letters, is: would someone (or a cell, or an organism) confronted with such understand the message?

Interesting. We'll see where this goes, if anywhere.

Thanks for reading.

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