Written by: The Midland Certified Reagent Company

Summary: DNA synthesis is a real science in use today, and we explore how it’s used.

The movie Gattaca explored the concept of custom DNA taken to its extreme. What if you could tailor make a baby to fit whatever parameters you set for him or her? So called “designer babies” have always been part of the pantheon of horror and sci-fi, but custom DNA synthesis is a real practice used all the time by scientists worldwide. Without the horrifying conclusions.

Here is what you need to know about the lifesaving practice of using custom DNA for research.

Oligonucleotide Synthesis

When scientists want to test how something will react with human DNA, they have to first isolate the relevant genes. They can synthesize a reaction using synthetic RNA or DNA, and record the results. This helps test how a cure might perform on a genetic level, which is basically a testing ground for what might happen in the human body.

DNA tells scientists a lot about our body’s makeup. Since cracking the genome, DNA is like a known quantity. We’ve identified which genes are responsible for certain processes and can test for their reaction to other chemicals.

Other Applications

Custom DNA is just one application for this kind of science. Building modified oligos allows researchers to explore all manner of testing for soil composition or atmospheric science. Using oligos, scientists can find oil in land, explore minerals and test for contaminants. The possibilities are nearly unlimited with customized strands of DNA, and testing is far safer when researchers aren’t putting actual lives at risk.

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