Floyd Romesberg


Scripps Chemistry Professor Floyd Romesberg shares his enthusiasm for developing artificial DNA and its implications for novel protein therapeutics.


What gets Scripps Chemistry Professor Floyd Romesberg up in the morning is understanding and evolving protein function. To this end, he is working to increase the information capacity of DNA by developing a third, artificial base pair, for eventual in vivo application in an unnatural organism that can build proteins with unnatural amino acids. In twelve short years, he and his team have been able to find new ways to replicate, first in the test tube and now in single bacterial cells, this artificial nucleotide. His success challenges us to re-examine our assumptions about nature’s design and embrace the exciting new potential of protein therapeutics.


First life with 'alien' DNA: An engineered bacterium is able to copy DNA that contains unnatural genetic letters
Callaway E. Nature. 2014.

Scientists Add Letters to DNA’s Alphabet, Raising Hope and Fear
Pollack A. New York Times, Business. 2014.

A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet
Malyshev DA, Dhami K, Lavergne T, Chen T, Dai N, Foster JM, Corrêa IR, Romesberg FE, Nature. 2014;509:385-388.

Efficient And Sequence-Independent Replication Of DNA Containing A Third Base Pair Establishes A Functional Six-Letter Genetic Alphabet
Malyshev DA, Dhami K, Quach HT, Laveryne T, Ordoukhanian P,Torkamani A, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 2012;109:12005-12010. 

Klentaq Polymerase Replicates Unnatural Base Pairs By Inducing A Watson-Crick Geometry
Betz K, Malyshev DA, Lavergne T, Welte W, Diederichs K, Dwyer TJ, et al. Nature Chemical Biology. 2012;8:612-614.

Natural-like Replication of an Unnatural Base Pair for the Expansion of the Genetic Alphabet and Biotechnology Applications
Li L, Degardin M, Lavergne T, Malyshev D, Dhami K, Ordoukhanian P, Romesberg FE. Journal of American Chemical Society. 2014;136:826–829.

Site-specific labeling of DNA and RNA using an efficiently replicated and transcribed class of unnatural base pairs
Seo YJ, Malyshev DA, Lavergne T, Ordoukhanian P, Romesberg FE. Journal of American Chemical Society. 2011;133:19878-19888.

Discovery, characterization, and optimization of an unnatural base pair for expansion of the genetic alphabet
Leconte AM, Hwang GT, Matsuda S, Capek P, Hari Y, Romesberg FE. Journal of American Chemical Society. 2008;130:2336-43.

Publications: Romesberg Lab
A comprehensive list of publications produced by Floyd's laboratory

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Pioneering Synthetic Biologist