Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

So, So Many

DNA could be just one of many molecules able to act as genetic material, Gizmodo reports.

An international team of researchers notes that other nucleic acid-like polymers can play similar roles to natural nucleic acids and used computer programs to explore structures — starting with a "'fuzzy' base molecular formula," as Gizmodo put it — that could fill this role. As they reported recently in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, the team led by the German Aerospace Center's Markus Meringer generated a list of about a million nucleic acid analogs that could potentially encode genetic information.

"It is truly exciting to consider the potential for alternate genetic systems, based on these analogous nucleosides — that these might possibly have emerged and evolved in different environments, perhaps even on other planets or moons within our solar system," co-author Jay Goodwin from Emory University says in a statement.

These nucleic acid analogs could also help researchers better understand the origins of DNA and RNA as well as potentially serve as data storage devices, Gizmodo notes. LiveScience adds that they could even be used by drug developers to combat disease.