Creatures from the goo

The creature pulled itself from the layer of stagnant water and fell against the glass wall of the chamber.  As it scraped at the smooth surface it felt the glands in its extremities secrete a thick, tacky liquid.  On its second attempt it was able to cling to the lower portion of the wall and slowly drag itself upwards, towards the light.  When it was high above the water below it turned its single complex eye to look back down.  Context started to snap into place and it became aware of itself, its surroundings and the possibilities that lay ahead.  It turned its attention to one of its simple limbs.  After several minutes of focussed thought it felt a tingle as its DNA started to adapt, splitting the limb first into two, then four.  It flexed its newly formed hand and turned its attention back to the light above it and the world it would lead to.

A group of scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Moleculary Biology have created synthetic molecules that can store genetic information in a manner similar to RNA and DNA.  The six encoding mechanisms, including XNA, both open the possiblity of new therapeutic treatments and shed light on the meta-ancestors of the prevalent RNA and DNA encodings.  Read the press release here: http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/news-and-events/lmb-news/development-of-new-genetic-polymers  See the Science article here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6079/341.abstract

James.

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