HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Expanding the genetic code--TSRI scientists synthesize 21-amino-acid bacterium

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) report in an upcoming article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society their synthesis of a form of the bacterium Escherichia coli with a genetic code that uses 21 basic amino acid building blocks to synthesize proteins--instead of the 20 found in nature.

This is the first time that anyone has created a completely autonomous organism that uses 21 amino acids and has the metabolic machinery to build those amino acids.

"We now have the opportunity to ask whether a 21-amino acid form of life has an evolutionary advantage over life with 20 amino acids," says the report's lead author Peter Schultz, Ph.D., TSRI professor of chemistry and Scripps Family Chair of TSRI's Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology.

"We have effectively removed a billion-year constraint on our ability to manipulate the structure and function of proteins," he says.

In addition to demonstrating that life is possible with additional amino acids, the work is of great relevance to science and medicine because it enables scientists to chemically manipulate the proteins that an organism produces within the organism itself. This gives scientists a powerful tool for research, from determining molecular structures to creating molecular medicines.

Why Expand the Genetic Code?

Life as we know it is composed, at the molecular level, of the same basic building blocks for instance, all life forms on Earth use the same four nucleotides to make DNA. And almost without exception, all known forms of life use the same common 20 amino acids--and only those 20--to make proteins.

"The question is," asks Schultz, "why did life stop with 20 and why these 20?"

While the answer to that question may be elusive, the 20-amino acid barrier is far from absolute. In some rare instances, in fact, certain organisms have evolved the ability to use the unusual amino acids selenocysteine and pyrrolysine--sli
'"/>

Contact: Jason Bardi
jasonb@scripps.edu
858-784-9254
Scripps Research Institute
14-Jan-2003


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Expanding the genetic code: the worlds first truly unnatural organism
2. Expanding lifes alphabet
3. Researchers determine genetic cause of Timothy syndrome
4. Rare childhood genetic syndrome identified
5. New research shows plants can shuffle and paste gene pieces to generate genetic diversity
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Chemical genetics identifies SARS inhibitors
8. 22nd amino acid synthesized and added to genetic code of e. coli bacteria
9. The impact of genetic variations on the treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis
10. Adaptive changes in the genome may provide insight into the genetics of complex disease
11. New genetic hypothesis for the cause of autism

Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/16/2014)... tract infections and worldwide claims the lives of ... Ghent University have succeeded in developing a promising ... , Xavier Saelens (VIB/UGent): "We discovered a ... the development of a novel approach to vaccination ... numerous small children and elderly people." , ...
(Date:10/15/2014)... ,Models of Life, is a non-traditional biophysics textbook and ... book is a journey of discovery into biological systems ... and biological regulation. It is about how our genes ... between the billions of cells in an organism. It ... between principles, which can be found on both large ...
(Date:10/15/2014)... will be awarded the 44th Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished ... pioneering research exploring the mechanisms of genomic instability and ... Alt is the second alumnus to win the Rosenstiel ... in 2003. , Alt is the Charles A. Janeway ... Medical School and an investigator at the Howard Hughes ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):New perspectives for development of an RSV vaccine 2New book about life as seen from physics 2Brandeis awards 44th Rosenstiel Award to pioneering geneticist Fred Alt 2
(Date:10/22/2014)... (PRWEB) October 22, 2014 Grace Century, ... and healthcare projects, announces the addition of Dr. ... to its advisory team. Dr. Siddiqui will provide further ... , A graduate of University College Medical School ... degreed in medicine in 2001. With further certification as ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... 22, 2014 Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) – ... people worldwide are living with diabetes, with  that number ... The global market for diabetes treatments is approximately $500 ... worldwide died from pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is the ... in the United States , and ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... 2014 Convey Computer , the ... from Iowa State University won first place in the ... Convey HC-2ex, the team’s solution achieved the highest overall ... the second place finisher. , Experts from all segments ... month long challenge, using a variety of design tools, ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... -- PureTech , a science and technology ... announced today the closing of a $55 million ... Perpetual, a $120 Billion group of funds. The ... pipeline forward and to advance new healthcare related ... to really go for the big ideas that ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Dr. Yousef Siddiqui joins the Grace Century Advisory Team 2Nuvilex Brief Analyst Report: Thinking Outside the Box by BrokerBank Securities, Inc. 2Team from Iowa State Wins 2014 MemoCODE Design Contest Using Convey HC-2ex 2Team from Iowa State Wins 2014 MemoCODE Design Contest Using Convey HC-2ex 3PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 2PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 3PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 4PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 5PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 6
Cached News: