It has become something of an annual tradition that I produce an advent calendar each year with facts, interesting links and videos. Consider it a little festive treat for your brain :) Here is your 2016 advent calendar – check out the doors that are already open, and come back each day for a new treat!
All the beautiful, remarkable complexities of life that we see around us are, believe it or not, encoded at the most basic level by an alphabet just 5 letters long. The DNA code, which is shared by all life on Earth, is formed from molecules known as nucleotides which come in just four forms: Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine. RNA, the single-stranded cousin of DNA which is important in translating DNA into protein, adds a fifth letter – Uracil. It is truly one of the most impressive feats of evolution, that such a simple alphabet can generate such diversity and adaptation. However, recently scientists from The Scripps Research Institute, California have engineered a life form with an expanded vocabulary.