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BEYOND CROP BIOTECH: NEW SYNTHETIC POLYMER MATCHES RIGIDITY OF DNA

Date : 30 January 2013

Chemist Alan Rowan at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported the properties of a synthetic polymer developed in his lab, which is the first one of its kind and matched the rigidity of many biopolymers such as DNA and collagen.

The strands of the synthetic polymer have helical backbone with thousands of short peptides carrying long tails of repeating carbon and oxygen chains. The nitrogen and hydrogen atoms near the peptides bond to each other, thus contributing to the rigidity of the polymer, and the carbon and oxygen tails attach to water molecule, making the polymer soluble. When the polymer is exposed to heat, it forms into a gel, which is relatively unusual.