Friday, 07 May, 2010
Thermal Trap for DNA Replication
C.B. Mast and D. Braun -
Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 188102 (2010)
The hallmark of living matter is the replication of genetic molecules and their active storage against diffusion. We implement both in the simple nonequilibrium environment of a temperature gradient. Convective flow both drives the DNA replicating polymerase chain reaction while concurrent thermophoresis accumulates the replicated 143 base pair DNA in bulk solution. The time constant for accumulation is 92 s while DNA is doubled every 50 s. The experiments explore conditions in pores of hydrothermal rock which can serve as a model environment for the origin of life.