Scientists Create New Life Forms That Tinker With the Language of DNA

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists have been up to something else now. They just can't help themselves. This time they've created a new form of life in the lab that reads common DNA instructions in a different way, building cells that speak a new language of sorts and are therefore impervious to the attacks of existing viruses.

The result is a genomically recoded organism, one that assembles itself by interpreting the common DNA rules differently. Fortunately for us, Popular Mechanics got a clever man to explain what it all means and how it works. Chemical biologist and paper author Marc Lajoie told the site that: "...the genetic sequence A -- G --  G means the same thing for almost all organisms, from your cells to a plant cell to a yeast cell. A genomically recoded organism is an organism that we have re-engineered to use a new language: One that sees the genetic sequence AGG as an entirely different instruction."

So it builds itself differently, making an alien cell that is immune to the usual attacks of viruses, because they don't understand it. Super soldiers, that's what it's all about. Ask him who's paying for it all and he won't be allowed to say, and some men will come in and have everyone sign 160-year non-disclosure agreements. [Science via Popular Mechanics]

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