University of Surrey researchers study the dynamics of proton transfer in hachimoji DNA

Quantum biologists from the University of Surrey believe that synthetic DNA, also known as laboratory-crafted DNA, holds immense potential for groundbreaking advancements in various fields. Unlike natural DNA, synthetic DNA has the ability to enable scientists to engineer new genes or enhance existing ones, leading to transformative possibilities in medicine and biotechnology. Furthermore, synthetic DNA could contribute to the understanding of genetic systems and sustain Darwinian evolution.

In a unique study, researchers from Surrey delved into the movement of protons in hachimoji DNA, a form of synthetic DNA not found in nature. Employing a technique called density functional theory, the team calculated the speed of proton transfer and its temperature dependency. The findings revealed that proton transfer occurs more easily in hachimoji DNA compared to regular DNA. Specifically, certain base pairs in hachimoji DNA facilitated protons to move 30% faster, implying a higher likelihood of mutations in hachimoji DNA compared to natural DNA.

Dr. Louie Slocombe, the lead researcher at the University of Surrey, expressed excitement about the exploration of hachimoji DNA and its unique properties, emphasizing its potential implications for synthetic biology and genetic research. The insights gained from this study could drive advancements in DNA engineering and expand our understanding of genetic systems both on Earth and beyond.

Hachimoji DNA is a synthetic form of DNA created in the laboratory, extending the genetic code beyond the conventional four letters (A, T, C, G). By incorporating four additional building blocks (Z, P, S, B), hachimoji DNA enables a broader range of genetic information, opening up new avenues in genetic research, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology. Scientists view hachimoji DNA as a promising tool for engineering organisms with unique capabilities and developing innovative drugs.

Dr. Marco Sacchi, a co-author of the study from the University of Surrey, emphasized the institution’s commitment to pioneering scientific research and driving transformative discoveries. The investigation into hachimoji DNA exemplifies the university’s excellence in quantum biology and the potential of this emerging field to unravel the intricacies of genetic systems and harness the power of innovative technologies.

Source: University of Surrey

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