Unnatural selection

Chemists build proteins with parts not in the typical toolkit

By Laura Beil, 10:10 AM September 23, 2010

Amino acids are the Legos of life — tiny bricks that snap together, forming the proteins on which every function of life depends. With rare exceptions, cells choose from just 20 kinds of Legos. But this is enough for human cells to assemble the more than 1 million proteins they need to function.

A couple of decades ago, a few scientists decided that they wanted to play with more Legos. It began as an exercise in academic curiosity, a way to ask some of the Big Questions about life: Why just...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/unnatural-selection-0