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An Unnatural Base Pair

Via Technovelgy: scientists have discovered a new pair of molecules that fit into the double helix:

Romesberg set up experiments that generated thousands of potential bases at random, and then screened them to see of any would be treated normally by a polymerase enzyme. h the help of graduate student Aaron Leconte, the group synthesized and screened 3600 candidates. Two different screening approaches turned up the same pair of molecules, called dSICS and dMMO2.

“We now have an unnatural base pair that’s efficiently replicated and doesn’t need an unnatural polymerase,” says Romesberg. “It’s staring to behave like a real base pair… "We still don’t have a detailed understanding of how replication happens,” added Romesberg. “Now that we have an unnatural base pair, we are continuing experiments to understand it better.”

The article goes on to cite the prescient appearance of just such a DNA base pair on the X-Files.