De Novo nucleic acids: a review of synthetic alternatives to DNA and RNA that could act as bio-information storage molecules

Devine, Kevin G. and Jheeta, Sohan (2020) De Novo nucleic acids: a review of synthetic alternatives to DNA and RNA that could act as bio-information storage molecules. Life, 10 (12). pp. 1-21. ISSN 2075-1729

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Abstract / Description

Modern terran life uses several essential biopolymers like nucleic acids, proteins and polysaccharides. The nucleic acids, DNA and RNA are arguably life’s most important, acting as the stores and translators of genetic information contained in their base sequences, which ultimately manifest themselves in the amino acid sequences of proteins. But just what is it about their structures; an aromatic heterocyclic base appended to a (five-atom ring) sugar-phosphate backbone that enables them to carry out these functions with such high fidelity? In the past three decades, leading chemists have created in their laboratories synthetic analogues of nucleic acids which differ from their natural counterparts in three key areas as follows: (a) replacement of the phosphate moiety with an uncharged analogue, (b) replacement of the pentose sugars ribose and deoxyribose with alternative acyclic, pentose and hexose derivatives and, finally, (c) replacement of the two heterocyclic base pairs adenine/thymine and guanine/cytosine with non-standard analogues that obey the Watson-Crick pairing rules. This manuscript will examine in detail the physical and chemical properties of these synthetic nucleic acid analogues, in particular on their abilities to serve as conveyors of genetic information. If life exists elsewhere in the universe, will it also use DNA and RNA?

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router
Uncontrolled Keywords: non-standard nucleic acids; sugar-phosphate backbone; pentose sugars; hexose derivatives; phosphate group replacement; alien life forms
Subjects: 500 Natural Sciences and Mathematics > 570 Life sciences; biology
Department: School of Human Sciences
SWORD Depositor: Pub Router
Depositing User: Pub Router
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2020 15:09
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2020 15:09


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