Synthetic DNA

∞ generated and posted on 2016.02.16 ∞

Chemical stringing together of deoxynucleotides without use of a template, for use in constructing artificial genes and other sequences.

The process today proceeds predominantly using DNA synthesis machines that computer direct the one-by-one addition of dNTPs – that is, specific deoxynucleotide triphosphates – which are then chemically joined to the growing oligonucleotide or polynucleic acid.

Note that the resulting DNA is single-stranded rather than consisting of a double helix, though the latter can be formed by allowing the annealing of complementary strands (that is, complementary DNA). Using standard procedures, smaller lengths of DNA can be ligated using DNA ligase into larger molecules.

Synthetic DNA can be used as primers in polymerase chain reaction, to effect site directed mutagenesis, or simply to construct artificial genes and even artificial genomes in vitro. Synthetic DNA is also known as artificial gene synthesis as well as oligonucleotide synthesis. See also polymerization.

Academic departments, companies, and various in-house services often will own DNA synthesis machines. If such a machine is not available locally then it is relatively trivial to obtain synthetic DNA from companies that operate over the internet. That is, you type the sequence you want into a form found on their website, pay your money by credit card (or otherwise charge your account), and then have the synthetic DNA delivered, for example, to you overnight.

Here are Google images of DNA synthesis machines. They are the digital "boxes" with numerous bottles, holding various reagents, attached.