Dr Holliger and his colleagues have developed polymerases that efficiently transcribe the code of their synthetic DNA to natural DNA and then from that back to another synthetic DNA.
The process of evolution was encouraged in the lab; one of their DNA analogues was designed to cling to a particular protein or RNA target, those that failed to do so were washed away.
As successive copies of those that stuck were made, variations in the genetic code - and the resulting structure the molecules took on - led to ever more tightly attached XNAs.
"We've been able to show that both heredity - information storage and propagation - and evolution, which are really two hallmarks of life, can be reproduced and implemented in alternative polymers other than DNA and RNA," Dr Holliger explained....
I think MiChris has said it well. They are still trying to figure out what came first the chicken or the egg. Its a playground of curiosity and hypothesizing. It sounds fascinating......but to answer the question of how life began.....they will not find the answer this way....but if they were to see nature in its whole and see the greatness of it, they may get a glimpse of the greatness of the Creator.
The problem here is the way the word "evolution" is used.
What they did was make mutant versions of a protein and then selected the best working version, which then underwent successive rounds of changes by mutation until a semi-efficient protein was found. So it's really mutation and artificial selection - like breeding dogs or farm animals with desirable traits, just on a molecular level.
"But the crucial point in creating a full "synthetic genetics" is a set of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA that can not only carry genetic information, but would also allow it to be changed and passed on - evolution and heredity."
"The process of evolution was encouraged in the lab; one of their DNA analogues was designed to cling to a particular protein or RNA target, those that failed to do so were washed away."
Interesting. They seem oblivious of the meaning of their creative, intelligent input into the process they call evolution.