Friday, April 20, 2012

Cool stuff.


So it's Friday. I'm not at work (in Wellington having a cup tea and watch the sea from a deck halfway up a hillside actually). So I'm not thinking about life to seriously today. Funnily enough. So today I'm only going to link to this. It comes under the heading of seriously cool shit*. This act of spectacular-ness involves constructing  new forms of DNA/RNA. DNA and RNA are normally formed on a backbone of ribose. Apparently we've been able to put the 4 letter genetic alphabet on a whole bunch of different sugars for a while now. It still operates like RNA, in that it can attach to and bind other genetic sequences thus acting as an activator or a repressor of other genes. Depending on what sugar you're using you could potentially make it more resistant to the machinery in cells that break RNA down which could quite possibly lead to a whole bunch of better or even brand new treatments for a variety of illnesses or quite frankly, a spectacular tool for the lab to help us figure out what's going on.
Trouble has been creating them. So this bunch of clever people in Cambridge (in the UK, not our one) has jimmied the enzymes that create DNA into creating these new forms of DNA. Which means we've now got the machinery to produce these new forms in useful amounts.

Seriously, if you don't think the fact that we can even contemplate doing stuff like this is awesome then your world is lacking whole levels or marvel that mine currently has.


*I was thinking today, as the plane took off - I wish people from a couple of hundred years ago could see what we can do now.  It would seriously blow some minds. admittedly at the time I was only thinking of the moderately spectacular act of flying.


*I was thinking today, as the plane took off - I wish people from a couple of hundred years ago could see what we can do now.  It would seriously blow some minds. admittedly at the time I was only thinking of the moderately spectacular act of flying.

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