Adjunct Associate Professor Frank Burton PhD

Medical School
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Oligonucleotide Abiogenesis

The purpose of this project is to perform 3D stereoscopic modeling, in Maestro, of theoretical non-replicative oligonucleotide (DNA and PNA) reproduction complexes, selected by their ability to facilitate or catalyze random oligonucleotide polymerization and non-random template reproduction, and on the basis of Macromodel-calculated energy states of their phosphate-backbone bond rotational conformations, melting  temperatures, and extents of cationic Wachtershauser-plane attraction. The researchers are using MSI's BSCL facilities for this project. Data obtained from these 3D computer simulations are guiding the chemical synthesis and annealing of real-world oligonucleotide complexes for test-tube confirmation of their predicted binding and for MRS, crystallographic, and/or atomic force microscopic confirmation of their predicted secondary and tertiary structures.

Project Investigators

Adjunct Associate Professor Frank Burton PhD
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