Peter Nielsen: Designing a New Molecule of Life

576 Words Nov 14th, 2012 3 Pages
Peter Nielsen: Designing A New Molecule of Life Life as we know it is far more complex than one can imagine. The smallest molecule in the human body can play a large role in determining the genetic outcome or the overall well being of a person. In Peter Nielsen’s “Designing a New Molecule of Life”, he speaks of a molecule that hopefully one day will create a scientific and medical breakthrough. In this essay you will read a summary of Peter Nielsen’s article and the research he has done with this molecule. Peter Nielson, along with many other scientists, have spent years creating and experimenting with a synthetic molecule called peptide nucleic acid (PNA). PNA is an artificial polymer that has many similarities to deoxyribonucleic …show more content…
Instead, a PNA strand invaded the DNA helix , displacing one of the DNA strands to form a bond with its (PNA) complement, and the second PNA strand formed what is called a Hoogsteen bonds PNA-DNA= PNA triplex. This created a triple invasion of the DNA helix. Other bonding methods were experimented where the PNA’s bases where modified according to the targeted DNA. Fortunately this method had better results though there are a lot more things to overcome. In making PNA a prospect for drugs, researchers have demonstrated proof of concept for using PNA oligomers to activated or suppress the transcription, replication, or repair of specific genes by binding DNA is various ways. PNA oligomers and conventional nucleic acids have the same problem of poor bioavailability because they are large water loving molecules making it difficult for them to enter cells. The productions of PNA based drugs awaits the development of suitable chemical modifications or pharmaceutical formulations to improve PNA bioavailability. Researchers believe this is the only thing holding back this medical breakthrough. In Nielsen’s article “Designing a New Molecule of Life”, he goes into detail of the many factors PNA will offer in the future. PNA can create a breakthrough drug, or may even create artificial life one day. Scientists say the PNA has many similarities as the molecules that have been thought to be the beginning of life. Though the