An interdisciplinary study led by Dr Ali Tavassoli, a Reader in chemical biology at the University of Southampton, has shown for the first time that 'click chemistry' can be used to assemble DNA that is functional in human cells, which paves the way for a purely chemical method for gene synthesis.
Writing in Angewandte Chemie International Edition Dr Tavassoli's team and his collaborators, Dr Jeremy Blaydes and Professor Tom Brown, show that human cells can still read through strands of DNA correctly despite being stitched together using a linker not found in nature.
The artificially linked DNA was created by joining oligonucleotides using click chemistry - chemistry tailored to mimic nature which generates substances quickly and reliably by joining small units together.
Ref: Transcription of Click-Linked DNA in Human Cells. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201308691