Written by: The Midland Certified Reagent Company
Summary: Synthetic DNA allows scientists to recreate certain sequences within a lab to test how they might fight disease.
DNA, the building block of life, comes configured with extremely specific traits that define everything about life forms. DNA synthesis allows scientists to manipulate those building blocks in specific combinations. Most people think “designer baby” when they hear this concept for the first time, but there are important medical research studies that require specific DNA sequences in order to test cures and remedies.
Synthesis is a natural process. DNA and RNA synthesis occurs within the body to form new proteins and new DNA molecules. Cracking the genome has enabled scientists to view disease and disorders in a whole new light. Combined with artificial synthesis, scientists are able to study very specific conditions that are related to diseases.
This process must be extremely precise, and is therefore automated. Oligonucleotide synthesis only deals with a defined chemical sequence, but this can be an advantage. Creating an entire DNA polymer is time consuming and expensive. It is still performed today, but oligos synthesis allows scientists to maintain a tight control over a desired sequence.
When a researcher has a theory about a disease, he or she has to try and recreate those conditions in a laboratory in order to study that theory in further detail. Patients with the disease may exist, but what if the researcher wants to hone in on people with a specific strand of DNA? In these situations, it’s not always feasible to track down patients that match the specific criteria. Synthetic DNA can act as a springboard, so to speak, giving the research team something they can work with to cure a disease.