Expanded DNA Code described in Nature News 7 May 2014, BBC News, 8 May 2014, ABC News in Science 9 May 2014, and Nature, vol. 509, pp385–388, doi:10.1038/nature13314. DNA consists of long strings of small components known as A, T, C and G. These letters refer to chemical components named Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine, which always group into pairs, A with T, and C with G. All living organisms use these same four letters in their genetic code. A team of scientists at Scripps Research Institute have produced DNA containing an extra two “synthetic” letters, which also form a pair. The two new letters are chemicals named d5SICS and dNaM, but for the sake of simplicity they are referred to as X and Y in a sequence of DNA code. The research team were able to make bacteria incorporate these “synthetic” letters into its DNA and then copy them via normal replication of DNA when bacteria divided. Unlike normal DNA letters, these new artificial ones do not code for any amino acids, (the building blocks of proteins), but the scientists are hoping they will one day be able to get bacteria to make artificial proteins and other substances. Floyd Romesberg, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute, who led the research, commented: “What we have now is a living cell that literally stores increased genetic information”.

ABC, BBC, Nature News

Editorial Comment: These scientists have certainly added extra chemicals into DNA strands, but thus far they have not added any useful information. What they have done is the equivalent of arbitrarily adding newly invented meaningless symbols to the English alphabet and then claiming you have put more information into the English language. There will only be more information in any language when any new symbols can be used to make new meaningful words that didn’t exist before, which can then be read by readers, and used by writers to communicate information that previously didn’t exist. Likewise the new DNA chemicals will convey no extra information until they can be read by the cellular machinery, and then used to produce a meaningful new and useful outcome, i.e. adding a specific amino acid to a protein, or starting or stopping the production of a protein. That will only happen when the scientists can find a way of manipulating the cellular machinery to recognise the presence of the chemicals and respond in a pre-programmed way.

Of course, the funny side of this is that if scientists do succeed in adding meaning to their chemicals, it will confirm the fact that meaning only comes from the mind, information originates only via pre-existing intelligence, and purpose always points to person. They will yet again have proved DNA is a created code! (Ref. genetics, bio-engineering, design, synthetic biology)

Evidence News, vol. 14, No. 8
21 May 2014
Creation Research Australia