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Triple Helix

Triple Helix

This Scientific American article discusses the idea of creating artificial self replicating genetic material that could be better than DNA.

Triple Helix: Designing a New Molecule of Life

Peptide nucleic acid, a synthetic hybrid of protein and DNA, could form the basis of a new class of drugs—and of artificial life unlike anything found in nature

Key Concepts

  • A synthetic molecule called peptide nucleic acid (PNA) combines the information-storage properties of DNA with the chemical stability of a proteinlike backbone.
  • Drugs based on PNA would achieve therapeutic effects by binding to specific base sequences of DNA or RNA, repressing or promoting the corresponding gene.
  • Some researchers working to construct artificial life-forms out of mixtures of chemicals are also considering PNA as a useful ingredient for their designs.
  • PNA-like molecules may have served as primordial genetic material at the origin of life.

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