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tinapickles
05-22-2010, 04:34 PM
Has anyone else been following the news releases about the computer engineered bacteria? This has made the front page in the newspaper here in India for two days in a row (tho I suspect less because it has to do with engineered life and more to do with the fact that "three people of Indian origin" worked on this project).

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Man-plays-creator-Indian-origin-scientists-help-create-artificial-life/articleshow/5960128.cms

This equal parts fascinates and horrifies me...

benbradley
05-22-2010, 06:05 PM
Yeah I've heard about it, though I don't recall the nationality of the researchers mentioned (of course I'd expect that to be different in their home country).

It's the "big thing," the first two articles right here:
Synthetic Biology Breakthrough
and
Synthetic Biology Breakthrough: Your Questions Answered
http://www.sciencemag.org/

An article on another site:
Scientists 'Boot Up' a Bacterial Cell With a Synthetic Genome
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520131435.htm

It was mentioned in the mainstream news yesterday, though I can't find it on cnn.com at the moment.

ColoradoMom
05-25-2010, 06:27 AM
I think the synthetic part is a little misleading - they didn't create life - they opened up a bottle of Blue Heron GeneMaker. So while the DNA was synthesized, it was not "synthetic" i.e. artificial. It's not like they created nucleotides or anything - NOW THAT would be amazing...it was some fancy recombination footwork though.

Paper here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/science.1190719.pdf

tinapickles
05-27-2010, 02:19 PM
I still think its fascinating in a Dr. Frankenstein kind of way. The potential for good is amazing. The potential for bad... astounding.

defcon6000
05-27-2010, 05:16 PM
Now all we need is to throw in some AI and we'll have our Nexus-6 androids in no time! ;)

And it is VERY cool stuff. Just hope the military keeps its grubby paws off of it - no good can come from their meddling.

tinapickles
05-27-2010, 06:01 PM
Mwahahahah *ahem*

lpetrich
05-27-2010, 10:42 PM
What they did was create a synthetic genome using the sequence of some bacterium's genome; they created it by assembling it from its building blocks, DNA nucleotides.

They then put that genome into a bacterium that had its genome removed. That was necessary, because a genome alone is incapable of assembling proteins or other such important things. So the old protein-assembly structures assemble proteins specified by the new genome, including new protein-assembly structures. After about 30 generations, essentially all of the descendants' proteins are specified by the new genome.


As to assembling DNA nucleotide from scratch in the lab, it's completely feasible if rather impractical. It's also possible to make various RNA's, proteins, membrane lipids, etc. from scratch, but that's even more impractical.

defcon6000
05-28-2010, 11:48 AM
As to assembling DNA nucleotide from scratch in the lab, it's completely feasible if rather impractical. It's also possible to make various RNA's, proteins, membrane lipids, etc. from scratch, but that's even more impractical.
Exactly. Why do it all over when the pieces are already there to build upon. Thanks <insert your creator god here>! :Thumbs:
Although, I guess it would be a cool challenge for the scientist with no life and tons of money to spare to start life all over again.

Lhun
05-29-2010, 02:57 AM
<snip> the scientist with no life and tons of money to spare <snip>Bwahaha! :roll: Good one.

defcon6000
05-29-2010, 02:54 PM
Bwahaha! :roll: Good one.
Ah ha! (not really)

Maybe the Playboy Mansion will pick up a new hobby?