Feb 15, 2009 | 5
CHICAGO—There is a moment in Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in which scientists realize that E.T. in fact has DNA, like Earth-based life forms. But that DNA is unlike any that scientists have thus far—it being 1982, of course—found in any Earthbound organism: It has six, instead of the usual four, bases in its alphabet.
Had E.T. been made today, a scientific consultant may have had to give a nod to a lab in Gainesville, Fla., where DNA with six nucleotides exists in a beaker.
"We have an artificial chemical system that is capable of Darwinian evolution," biochemist Steven A. Benner, of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, said at a session here at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) annual meeting this morning.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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