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New research has brought us closer than ever to synthesizing entirely new forms of life. An international team of researchers has shown that artificial nucleic acids - called "XNAs" - can replicate and evolve, just like DNA and RNA.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living organisms. This model is from the Oxford University Science Museum
Soon you'll be backing up your hard drive using DNA: "In 2011 we had 1.8 * 10^21 bytes of information stored and replicated" explains Sriram Kosuri, a Harvard geneticist, in an email to io9. "By 2020 it will be 50 times that. That's an astounding number; and doesn't include a much larger set of data that's thrown away (video feeds)." At theoretical maximum, one gram of single stranded genetic code can encode 455 exabytes of information. That's almost half a billion terabytes, or 4.9 * 10^11 GB."
New DNA cleavage technique could lead to more versatile genetic engineering
Scientists create the first life form with 'alien' DNA -Researchers in California have for the first time created an organism whose genetic code comprises six letters, instead of four. this means that the bacterium, described in a study published in 'Nature' today, is the first life form to contain artificial genetic building blocks.