A new study could explain why DNA and not RNA, its older chemical cousin, is the main repository of genetic information. The DNA double helix is a more forgiving molecule that can contort itself into different shapes to absorb chemical damage to the basic building blocks — A, G, C and T — of genetic code. In contrast, when RNA is in the form of a double helix it is so rigid and unyielding that rather than accommodating damaged bases, it falls apart completely.
“For something as fundamental as the double helix, it is amazing that we are discovering these basic properties so late in the game,” said Al-Hashimi. “We need to continue to zoom in to obtain a deeper understanding regarding these basic molecules of life.” More. Paper. (paywall) – Huiqing Zhou, Isaac J Kimsey, Evgenia N Nikolova, Bharathwaj Sathyamoorthy, Gianmarc Grazioli, James McSally, Tianyu Bai, Christoph H Wunderlich, Christoph Kreutz, Ioan Andricioaei, Hashim M Al-Hashimi. m1A and m1G disrupt A-RNA structure through the intrinsic instability of Hoogsteen base pairs. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3270
It’s getting to the point where useful science knowledge will cease unless the role of information as a real feature of the universe is acknowledged. It’ll all just be Perceptronium Man and New Scientist astounding us with nonsense like: Information is physical. That sells and what else matters.
See also: Data basic
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