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A New Molecule of Life

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Submitted By margaretwoodson
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g A New Molecule of Life Life as we know it is far more complex than one can imagine. The smallest molecule in human body can play a large role in determining the genetic outcome or the overall well being of a person. In Peter Nielsen’s “Designing a New Molecule of Life”, he speaks of a molecule that hopefully one day will create a scientific and medical breakthrough. In this essay you will read a summary of Peter Nielsen’s article and the research he has done with this molecule. Peter Nielson, along with many other scientists, have spent years creating and experimenting with a synthetic molecule called peptide nucleic acid (PNA). PNA is an artificial polymer that has many similarities to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). It has the same storing features as DNA and RNA while being built on a protein based backbone therefore making it sturdier and simpler than the sugar phosphate-backbone. The molecule was created in hopes of having an immediate affect by pursuing a drug that would target DNA’s composing specific genes, to either enhance or block the gene’s expression. This new drug would be in efforts to interfere with the production of disease producing proteins. Although this molecule has produced highly anticipated medical research, it has also lead to speculations of being the origins of life. In his years of research, Peter Nielsen and his colleagues wanted to achieve the ability of PNA recognizing double-stranded or duplex DNA having specific sequences and also be able to link to it creating a triple helix. The recognition in duplex DNA is far more challenging being that the atoms involved in the sequencing bases are already involved in hydrogen bonds connecting the two strands together and therefore making it unavailable to link to another molecule. Further into Nielsen’s research, an experiment was done where duplex DNA…...

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