Nautilus

Why Synthetic Protein Research Needs More Funding

The ability to create and explore such synthetic proteins with atomic level accuracy has the potential to unlock new areas of basic research and to create practical applications in a wide range of fields.Image by G. Indelicato, P. Burkhard, R. Twarock / Royal Society Open Science

Proteins are the workhorses of all living creatures, fulfilling the instructions of DNA. They occur in a wide variety of complex structures and carry out all the important functions in our body and in all living organisms—digesting food, building tissue, transporting oxygen through the bloodstream, dividing cells, firing neurons, and powering muscles. Remarkably, this versatility comes from different combinations, or sequences, of just 20 amino acid molecules. How these linear sequences fold up into complex structures is just now beginning to be well understood.

Even more remarkably, nature seems

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