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Base-Pairing Properties of a Structural Isomer of Glycerol Nucleic Acid


  • This work was supported by NASA Astrobiology: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program (Grant NNX09AM96G), and was jointly supported by NSF and NASA Astrobiology Program under the NSF Center for Chemical Evolution, Grant CHE-1004570. We thank Professors A. Eschenmoser and G. Joyce, and Dr. Matthias Stoop for constructive feedback on the manuscript.


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Know your limit! IsoGNA (a structural isomer of GNA) was found—in sharp contrast to GNA—to be highly restricted in its ability to base-pair with itself and other nucleic acids. While homogeneous sequences (e.g. isoGNA(A)16) formed duplexes, the heterogeneous sequences showed no base-pairing. This exemplifies the limitations of canonical nucleobases as the recognition elements in simpler, more primitive phosphate backbones.

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