Unnatural Base Pair Report

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In this report, Zhang Y, et al., explored the idea of expanding the genetic alphabet although it has only ever consisted of four natural bases. The four natural bases generally base pair to form A-T and C-G; however, the authors created an organism that consists of those in addition to another base pair: X-Y. Considering the fact that X and Y do not typically occur in nature, the authors actually ended up creating a semisynthetic organism (SSO) that has an unnatural base pair (UBP) and may be able to create new life.

The numerous past failed efforts in creating a suitable UBP contributed to the progression of the authors creating a SSO. In the past, the authors grew Escherichia coli with compatible unnatural nucleoside triphosphates, dNaM and d5SICS, which are essential in replicating UBPs. They implemented a nucleoside triphosphate transporter (NTT2) to allow the E. coli to import the UBPs, ensuring they would be present
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Considering it is still an up and coming technology, I find it worrisome that nothing like this has ever been done before. In one way or another scientists are basically playing with nature and acting as “God.” How do we know this new alien-life is not going to have significant consequences? For example, I wonder how the expansion of the genetic code effects our environment and other organisms. It is possible that one of the organisms can get loose and cause more harm than good. When we discussed GMOs an experiment demonstrated that one organism getting loose had the potential to reduce the population size to zero, resulting in an ecological disaster. I am afraid that this genetic expansion might have the same negative impacts. Does that mean that there will be more regulation to prevent things such disasters like that from happening? These are questions that I believe only time and more experimentation will

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