Seminar Series – Alexander I. Taylor

“Beyond DNA & RNA Synthetic Genetic Polymers,” by Alexander I Taylor, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge University, UK.

Two of the hallmarks of life, heredity and evolution, can be recapitulated in the test tube using a series of synthetic alternatives to DNA composed of non-natural building blocks, ‘xeno nucleic acids’ (XNA). We have recently established a range of XNA synthetic genetic systems and are beginning to explore the potential of artificial chemical scaffolds to evolve functional phenotypes, ligands (XNA ‘aptamers’) and enzymes (‘XNAzymes’), as well as their application as novel materials for nucleic acid nanotechnology. Our results demonstrate that fundamental biological phenomena – molecular recognition, catalysis and self-assembly of 3D structures – can be performed by a variety of alternatives to nature’s biomolecules, suggesting the possibility of life based on other chemistries (‘xenobiology’) and underscoring the potential for XNAs with structures and physicochemical properties divergent from DNA and RNA to provide a wide range of novel tools and technologies for research, biotechnology and medicine.

Hosted by Dr. Leonard Foster

Monday, May 15, 2017 at 10:00 am, LSC #3, 2350 Health Sciences Mall