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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Artificial DNA alternative evolves on its own

•, by Emma Woollacott
 The prospect of artificial life has just come one step closer, with the discovery that a synthetic version of DNA and RNA can evolve like the real thing.
While DNA is built using deoxyribose sugars and RNA with ribose, an international team has now discovered it's possible to replace these sugars with six others to create synthetic genetic chains called xeno-nucleic acids (XNAs).

The XNAs can share information with DNA - and one, anhydrohexitol nucleic acid,or HNA, can undergo directed evolution and fold into biologically useful forms.

The work sheds new light on questions concerning the origins of life.

Both RNA and DNA embed data in their sequences of four nucleotides, coding for hereditary traits and the recipe for building proteins from amino acids.

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