In 1985, the chemist Steven A. Benner sat down with some colleagues and a notebook and sketched out a way to expand the alphabet of DNA. He has been trying to make those sketches real ever since.
On Thursday, Dr. Benner and a team of scientists reported success: in a paper, published in Science, they said they have in effect doubled the genetic alphabet.
Natural DNA is spelled out with four different letters known as bases — A, C, G and T. Dr. Benner and his colleagues have built DNA with eight bases — four natural, and four unnatural. They named their new system Hachimoji DNA (hachi is Japanese for eight, moji for letter).
read more in www.nytimes.com