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back to article Biologists create synthetic DNA capable of EVOLUTION

Synthetic DNA and RNA has been shown to be capable of evolving in the lab, carrying hereditary traits with it. The synthetic form of DNA, life's building block, was able to share information with real DNA and undergo directed evolution into biologically useful forms. Boffins are studying the fundamental question about DNA: …

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Pah!

Until the evolve me a flying monkey butler, its all hokum.

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Anonymous Coward

HNA, CeNA, LNA, ANA, FANA, TNA...

Batman?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: HNA, CeNA, LNA, ANA, FANA, TNA...

Keyboard sellers gonna love you!

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I like your reporting, altho I found "Synthetic DNA and RNA has been shown to be capable of evolving in the lab, carrying hereditary traits with it" a bit weird.

The clever bit is that they've made enzymes that will work with the new forms of xNA. You can make a variety of NA sequnces on different sugar backbones, and they'll carry info, but it's getting the "machinery" to read and write it that's impressive (and vital).

Molecular biology is sooo interesting - glad you're reporting on it. It's amazing how closely it relates to computing! It's also at a scale ppl can comprehend. Physics is great, but in the end it comes down to measuring EM diffraction and doing enough stats to show that your errors are smaller than the measurements you took. Clever, but not terribly exciting. Plugging new plasmids into bacteria etc is something you could *almost* do at home with a big enough budget!

Now, where did I leave those world domination plans....

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Big Brother

Man was talking to God " God we can now create life from dirt . God said, "Oh really ?" Man said OH yes!!!" God then said ,"Let's see you do it". Man said "give me some dirt and I'll show you." God said, "Get your own dirt." ...

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Silver badge

Man promptly replied "Fuck you then, I'm off to steal some from Saturn. We don't need your self-obsessed ass."

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FAIL

Ah, thats it, you prooved it. I'm a Christian now and forever, thank you for saving me.

Just one question, one simple little question, I'm sure you can answer this; people like you have answers for everything:

WHAT THE FUCK WAS 'MAN' STANDING ON AT THE TIME HE ASKED THE QUESTION?

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Facepalm

He was standing on a small ball of rock composed of stardust bought together by gravity about 4 or bllion years ago. There, simples!

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Alert

Tekeli-li... tekeli-li

Because morphing bio-blobs worked sooo well for the Elder Ones...

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Wonder when

I wonder when they will make this into a kit for kids like A.C. Gilbert did with the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab they sold in the 50's. I can see it now "Kids make your own life that evolves!". Or is the time of fun science toy kits over now?

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Coat

Ye man

Let's make bigger animals with this NA stuff and maybe the price of meat will go down! 1 or 2 bacon rolls are very tasty etc

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Alert

worry

is it only me BUT,

self duplicating stuff that can combine with other dna,

now that sounds like a bio containment disaster waiting to happen

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: worry

Is the base-pair spacing compatible?

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Boffin

Re: worry

Please step away from the Television; t is starting to damage your mind.

If you want something to be scared about that is a much real bigger threat to you - check out the Americium in your smoke detectors.

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Coat

Hot TNA Action!

I know that whenever I want to reverse-transcribe a genetic system, TNA is always at the top of the list!

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Alien

I for one...

...welcome our XNA based overlords

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Silver badge

What I want to know...

...is can we create something "better" than DNA? Whether that is more energy efficient, or quicker replicating or less prone to damage or more information dense... Not that what has been done here isn't amazing, but to be able to make a Life 2.0, would be incredible. I'm vaguely thinking of that scene in the Fifth Element where the scientist compares Leeloo's DNA with human DNA, showing how much extra is encoded in it. But more realistically - what practical differences could there be between natural DNA and a synthetic alternative?

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Thumb Up

what practical differences could there be between natural DNA and a synthetic alternative?

I could fuel up once a month instead of trying to decide what I have to eat today? hehe

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Happy

Re: What I want to know...

It might make DNA processors easier to build - they are very fast parallel processors.

Also, we could become a hyper-evolving species like the Haggunenon (based on triple-striated octo-helical DNA) thus making it much easier to reach the sugar across the table.

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Pint

Evolution?

I sometimes wonder if the pundits that preach Intelligent Design are right. Sometimes it seems to me that humans are just Primates Version 3.0. Although many of the people I meet could probably use a firmware upgrade to bring them up to that level, for bug fixes, stability, etc.

Sometimes I look at animals like the platypus and think: Ahh, Windows Vista.

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Mushroom

Re: Evolution?

*sigh*

You are thinking like a 220-yr-old Colonial; a platypus is NOT a 'primitive' animal.

Just because it looks like a duck bill is simply evidence of co-vergent evolution, although I have yet to meet a duck with an electromagnetic-field-detecting bill (Platypuses can sense *really* small EM fields with their bill).

Also, no ducks I know of have venomous claws; platypuses do. (Male ones, at least)

Also, platypuses are quite successful creatures - visible in the wild, even within Sydney if you know where and when to look.

Also, Vista actually worked pretty well.

So; your point, sir?

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Re: Evolution?

I was with you until you blew it with "Also, Vista actually worked pretty well." LOL

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Trollface

Denial

The resulting lifeforms will survive our nuclear holocaust and, in millions of years when all trace of human life has vanished, they will conclude they came from a comet with a bit of a runny nose and that those the woolly-thinkers who hold to the myths of the 'Intelligent Design by Hoo-Mann Beings' is a myth that should be done away with and banned from their schools.

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Anonymous Coward

Asked it the big question.

When the asked XNA the answer to everything it didnt spell out 42, it said DIE!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asked it the big question.

What's more, you can develop with XNA using an IDE! Coincidence? Most likely, but don't let that stop you.

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Trollface

Just In Case Everyone Forgot

I for one welcome our synthetic evolving DNA overlords

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Trollface

Re: Artificial DNA Not Capable of Macro-Evolution

Not sure if trolling..... or just stupid....

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/eb6/

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Re: Artificial DNA Not Capable of Macro-Evolution

@brgnathan

Could you provide me with a (scientific) reference that explains these terms 'macro-evolution' and 'micro-evolution' of which you speak?

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Silver badge

Re: Artificial DNA Not Capable of Macro-Evolution

Wikipedia will serve you well enough for these terms, they're relatively straight-forward. Micro-evolution is little and short-term changes. Macro-evolution is the big stuff that leads to horses and sheep being different. Macro-evolution is normally an emergent quality of micro-evolution. I.e. lots of micro-evolution over time results in macro-evolution. What's interesting is that this synthetic RNA is too simple for that to happen. I.e. if you have a billion monkeys typing forever on a keyboard, eventually you get Shakespeare. But if the keyboard only has the letters Q, R, J and 6, then Shakespeare will never happen. The team has produced a keyboard, but the number of letters is still too small for macroevolution (Shakespeare), only microevolution (sometimes you get QRJ, sometimes you get 6JR).

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Re: Artificial DNA Not Capable of Macro-Evolution

@h4rm0ny

The reason I asked is that these terms get banded around by creationists without being fully defined. They then tend to move the goal posts and categorise any observable evolution as micro-evolution and claim that macro-evolution is not possible. My understanding was that there isn't any real difference - the Wikipedia article backs this up by saying that there isn't any "qualitative difference". I'm not sure how this squares with your comments about this synthetic RNA. I'm not saying you are wrong - I would like to understand better.

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