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Georgia Tech awarded a $20M Center for Chemical Innovation from NSF and NASA
Date:8/2/2010

tform to create a range of substances with broad commercial applications across the spectrum of therapeutics, diagnostics and drug delivery materials. Lynn will also lead the Center's education and public outreach programs.

The research efforts of the Center will build on the knowledge and results gained during the past three years, during which time a smaller group of laboratories were funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct collaborative research projects and to develop a larger center.

Research progress made during the initial phase of funding includes a paper published June 14 in the journal ChemBioChem. Center laboratories showed for the first time that guanine, a component of DNA, could be produced from formamide (H2NCOH), a simple chemical known to exist in outer space.

Previous research had shown that the other three building blocks of nucleic acids -- cytosine, adenine and uracil -- could be synthesized by heating formamide in the presence of mineral catalysts, but not guanine.

Center researchers produced guanine from formamide by subjecting the sample to ultraviolet light during the heating process. The results also demonstrated that guanine, adenine and another building block called hypoxanthine could be produced at lower temperatures than previously reported.

"Our ultimate goal is to create a complete chemical pathway showing how relatively simple substances can interact with the environment and each other to spontaneously produce complex assemblies that exhibit properties normally associated with biological substances, and perhaps shed some light on the earliest stages of life on Earth," noted Hud.


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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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