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synthetic life? - Mycoplasma genitalium (seriously) (Jan/30/2008 )

whatcha all thinking about this nifty little thing?
clever little boffins.



Wow!! Very interesting.

Not too sure about this bit.....

the "researchers also took steps at this stage to address concerns that the technology could be misused to engineer a deadly virus or that an unforeseen innocent error could lead to bacteria run amok."

One such step was, they "inserted a gene to block the ability of the synthetic genome to infect human or animal hosts."- well whats to say that the "misuser" couldn't simply remove this gene whilst creating their nasty bug?? and also, whats to say the bug itself wouldn't naturally lose this gene?? It seems to me that such a simple genome would have remained so over time by losing genes that were of no real use to the organism- so it would be reasonable to think that this may happen in this case.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro GM- just a little bemused...........


1. The DNA they have made has not been inserted into a cell and shown to be functional. It's a chemical, not a genome, until this happens.

2. Why on earth would someone go to the trouble of mutating this DNA back to virulence, when there are already cells with virulence readily available. The danger, if any, comes in creating novel organisms, not in copying nearly exactly an existing one.

3. The inserted gene's role is to inactivate a putative pathogenic determinant by disruption of the coding sequence. A gene loss would likely not reinstate the function of the interrupted gene.

4. I would definitely not have started with a human pathogen for this research.


It is a glimps of the future. Of things that in time will come to pass.

Now all they need is to use their genome transfer method (imbeding the genome in agarose gel and allowing mycoplasma cell to take up said genome - which they showed several months ago) to transfer their artificial sequence into a host mycoplasma. And thus man reflects nature once again.

Still it will be a little bit more (decades if not another century) before we can see really AL/GELF rather then copies of natural life (although there probably will be use for modified copies as GMO has shown).

We need prediction software (easier said then done) - to see how all network of genes will act. How the networks of proteins will interact. Better reading (getting there), writting (still in the backwoods) and editing(still dependent on blind luck!) methods...

It will be awhile before the really interesting things arrive. Still always a good time to develop the tools so that the next generation can use these tool to develop the tool to actually do the work.


it was actually even more then just a framework, this synthetic genome only differs from the original M. genitalium in that it was synthesized using dna synthesis technologies. its a copy of the naturally occurring gnome. genome.
is the idea to help cure inheritable diseases?
perhaps in the long run, replace the defective chromosome with the syhtetic one and cure the condition.
the proble i see witht at, is you'd have to screen the parents of all children for these kinds of problems (assuming is an inheritable thing), and then do teh transfer in either the sex cells before they'd meet up. it'd be too difficult to replace the defective chroosome in an already living creature. too many variables.
if it had been my work, i'd have called it anges.

anywya, i am legend wants its idea back.



Wrong- DNA is a checmial - genme is a complex of DNA histones etc. The difference in tertiary structure alone makes it absokutely different and nonfunctional.