5-Nitroindole is currently the best universal base available. It does not favor any particular base-pairing (i.e., it does not support base-specific hydrogen bond formation), but does contribute to duplex stability through base-stacking interactions. Therefore, it is not as destabilizing to the duplex as mismatches between the standard bases. 5-Nitroindole directs random incorporation of any specific base when used as a template for DNA polymerase and partially blocks enzyme processivity.
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