DNA evolved to store genetic information, but in principle this special, chain-like molecule can also be adapted to make new materials. Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now published an important demonstration of this repurposing of DNA to create new substances with possible medical applications.

TSRI’s Floyd Romesberg and Tingjian Chen, in a study published online in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie (“Enzymatic synthesis, amplification, and application of DNA with a functionalized backbone”), showed that they could make several potentially valuable chemical modifications to DNA nucleotides and produce useful quantities of the modified DNA. The chemists demonstrated their new approach by making a DNA-based, water-absorbing hydrogel that ultimately may have multiple medical and scientific uses.

Read more at nanowerk.com

Image Credit:  TSRI

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