welcome to the fest
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

World of Science: First Man-made Cell (kinda)

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10554
Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:51 pm    Post subject: World of Science: First Man-made Cell (kinda) Reply with quote

A step to artificial life: Manmade DNA powers cell
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100520/ap_on_sc/us_sci_synthetic_cell
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer Thu May 20, 7:54 pm ET

Quote:
WASHINGTON – Scientists announced a bold step Thursday in the enduring quest to create artificial life. They've produced a living cell powered by manmade DNA. While such work can evoke images of Frankenstein-like scientific tinkering, it also is exciting hopes that it could eventually lead to new fuels, better ways to clean polluted water, faster vaccine production and more.
Is it really an artificial life form?
The inventors call it the world's first synthetic cell, although this initial step is more a re-creation of existing life — changing one simple type of bacterium into another — than a built-from-scratch kind.
Maryland genome-mapping pioneer J. Craig Venter said his team's project paves the way for the ultimate, much harder goal: designing organisms that work differently from the way nature intended for a wide range of uses. Already he's working with ExxonMobil in hopes of turning algae into fuel.
And the report, being published Friday in the journal Science, is triggering excitement in this growing field of synthetic biology.
"It's been a long time coming, and it was worth the wait," said Dr. George Church, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor. "It's a milestone that has potential practical applications."
The project has overcome some hurdles in engineering larger genomes that will help push forward the field, said biological engineer Dr. Ron Weiss, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology leader in synthetic biology.
"It's an important step," said Weiss. Even though the manmade DNA needed an already living cell to start working, eventually it reproduced and "all elements in the cells after some amount of time can be traced to this initial artificial DNA. That's a great accomplishment."
Scientists for years have moved single genes and even large chunks of DNA from one species to another. Venter aimed to go further. A few years ago, his team transplanted an entire natural genome, all of an organism's genes, one bacterium into another and watched it take over — turning a goat germ into a cattle germ.
Next, the researchers built from scratch another, smaller bacterium's genome, using off-the-shelf laboratory-made DNA fragments.
Friday's report combines those two achievements to test a big question: Could synthetic DNA really take over and drive a living cell? Somehow, it did.
"This is transforming life totally from one+ species into another by changing the software," said Venter, using a computer analogy to explain the DNA's role.
The researchers picked two species of Mycoplasma, simple germs that contain a single chromosome and lack the cell walls that form barriers in other bacteria. First, they chemically synthesized the genome of M. mycoides, that goat germ, twice as large as the germ genome they'd previously built.
Then they transplanted it into a living cell from a different Mycoplasma species, albeit a fairly close cousin.
At first, nothing happened. The team scrambled to find out why, creating a genetic version of a computer proofreading program to spell-check the DNA fragments they'd pieced together. The result: They found that a typo in the genetic code, in one of the synthetic genome's million chemical base pairs, was rendering the manmade DNA inactive, delaying the project three months to find and restore that bit.
"It shows you how accurate it has to be, one letter out of a million," Venter said.
That fixed, the transplant worked. The recipient cell started out with synthetic DNA and its original cytoplasm, but the new genome "booted up" that cell to start producing only proteins that normally would be found in the copied goat germ. It reproduced into a small colony of germs in a lab dish. The researchers had tagged the synthetic DNA to be able to tell it apart, and confirmed that those new ones really looked and behaved like M. mycoides, not the recipient cell.


Ok so it's more of recreating a cell with existing parts (from what catalogue do you order "off-the-shelf DNA"?) but still it's a HUGE feat. Here's to hoping they don't accidentally wipe us all out in the name of research.
_________________
...if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.
http://about.me/omardrake
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Dro



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3860

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This catalogue:
https://www.dna20.com/

although they used a different vendor.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10554
Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh let's not forget the obligatory canned papal response:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/vatican-warns-artificial-cell-creators-that-only-god-can-create-life/article1576898/?cmpid=rss1

Quote:
“Pretending to be God and parroting his power of creation is an enormous risk that can plunge men into a barbarity,” Bishop Mogavero told newspaper La Stampa in an interview. Scientists “should never forget that there is only one creator: God.”

_________________
...if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.
http://about.me/omardrake
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6076
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haven't we been artificially engineering organisms to suit our particular needs and desires for thousands of years?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10554
Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not on a cellular level
_________________
...if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.
http://about.me/omardrake
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6076
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not on a cellular level, no; but i don't get the Vatican's objection here.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dro



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3860

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've modified organisms. This is the first one where the entire DNA is designed by humans, synthesized in a machine, and placed back into a cell.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Unnamed?



Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool. I hope it's used exclusively for human advancement and not for destruction.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 12244
Location: Unknown Kaddath

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope it's used for destruction but also for making superheroes or monsters to thwart said destruction.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mr Gary



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 6256
Location: Some pub in England

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dro wrote:
We've modified organisms. This is the first one where the entire DNA is designed by humans, synthesized in a machine, and placed back into a cell.


And patented, too, I believe. Life, brought to you by OmniCorp.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nathan



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 6282

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anybody know how this is covered in the law?

If I design a synthetic organism, can I get exclusive rights to that organism?
_________________
All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last. - Marky Mark Proust
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10554
Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Does anybody know how this is covered in the law?

If I design a synthetic organism, can I get exclusive rights to that organism?

Maybe it might fall under hybrid animal law: http://www.hybridlaw.com/ but then perhaps laws which govern hybrid plants maybe more applicable as a basis since they specifically include clauses against reproduction via any purposeful means. In the end though it is neither plant nor animal so who knows.
_________________
...if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.
http://about.me/omardrake
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group