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New amino acid discovered; Fundamental building block of life

i believes it is likely to be found in other situations - in other organisms - aside from methanogens. He's philosophic about the importance of the discovery: "This shows us that the genetic code, and therefore, evolution is much more plastic than people might have thought."

Chan agrees, pointing to the strong possibility that finding a 22nd genetically encoded amino acid should stimulate the search for a 23rd or a 24th. "With so many researchers dissecting so many genomes now, it's reasonable to suggest that there might be more waiting to be found.

"I think this work will cause researchers to start looking at genetic sequences that they might have thought at first were simply aberrations," he said. "Instead, they might signal discoveries like ours."


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Contact: Joseph A. Krzycki
Krzycki.1@osu.edu
614-292-1578
Ohio State University
23-May-2002


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