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Synthetic Biology and Evolution

September 25th, 2009, 7:52 pm

A Life of Its Own: Where will synthetic biology lead us - The New Yorker - September 28"The first time Jay Keasling remembers hearing the word “artemisinin,” about a decade ago, he had no idea what it meant. “Not a clue,” Keasling, a professor of biochemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled. Although artemisinin has become the world’s most important malaria medicine, Keasling wasn’t an expert on infectious diseases. But he happened to be in the process of creating a new discipline, synthetic biology, which—by combining elements of engineering, chemistry, computer science, and molecular biology—seeks to assemble the biological tools necessary to redesign the living world. Scientists have been manipulating genes for decades; inserting, deleting, and changing them in various microbes has become a routine function in thousands of labs. Keasling and a rapidly growing number of colleagues around the world have something more radical in mind. By using gene-sequence information and synthetic DNA, they are attempting to reconfigure the metabolic pathways of cells to perform entirely new functions, such as manufacturing chemicals and drugs. Eventually, they intend to construct genes—and new forms of life—from scratch. Keasling and others are putting together a kind of foundry of biological components—BioBricks, as Tom Knight, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who helped invent the field, has named them. Each BioBrick part, made of standardized pieces of DNA, can be used interchangeably to create and modify living cells."...
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quantmeh
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September 25th, 2009, 7:53 pm

a friend of mine is in the group which is trying to create new organisms. viruses, I believe
 
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September 25th, 2009, 7:55 pm

It would be interesting to know what the scientists who are very close to that work think about the safety factors.***Nanorobotics might be a bit more secure, unless you believe in the Terminator scenario.Robots with a Mind of Their OwnSelf assembly? Yes!
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September 25th, 2009, 8:26 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: trackstarIt would be interesting to know what the scientists who are very close to that work think about the safety factors.do you know are the salaries in biotech?
 
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September 25th, 2009, 8:32 pm

I think we are coming back to the "would gladly construct nuclear weapons for paycheck" conversation?
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September 25th, 2009, 9:21 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: trackstarI think we are coming back to the "would gladly construct nuclear weapons for paycheck" conversation?they should be compensated better we dont want them to be sad or angry
 
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September 25th, 2009, 9:22 pm

Not sure if related to synthetic biology but Paracelsus supposedly claimed he had developed homunculus, he later destroyed homunculus when he (or others) supposedly claimed it had no soul."In the process, somehow, the name "homunculus" seems to have crystallized in the famous recipe produced by Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, known to most people simply as Paracelsus."""Now, this is one of the greatest secrets which God has revealed to mortal and fallible man. It is a miracle and a marvel of God, an arcanum above all arcana, and deserves to be kept secret until the last of times, when there shall be nothing hidden, but all things shall be manifest. And although up to this time it has not been known to men, it was, nevertheless, known to the wood-sprites and nymphs and giants long ago, because they themselves were sprung from this source; since from such homunculi when they come to manhood are produced giants, pygmies,and other marvelous people, who get great victories over their enemies, and know all secrets and hidden matters"."Deuteronomy 2:20 (Whole Chapter) (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;Numbers 13:33 (Whole Chapter) And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.Genesis 6:4 (Whole Chapter) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. " William Maxwell's 1679 "De Medicina Magnetica", the Scottish physician claims to prove the possibility of creating a homunculus in the resurrection of a plant from its ashes. He states that the salt of blood, if properly prepared, is the supreme remedy; and just as salts of herbs can reproduce the likeliness of the herb in the test-tube.."Picture I think not of Paracelsus, but yes related to homunculus Time to create an army of Giants to hold the enemies at bay? Well I guess a lot of things can be made in photoshop these days Why do we need synthetic rabbits, they are big enough already
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October 16th, 2009, 12:41 am

3 U.S. scientists share Nobel Prize in medicine - LA Times Oct 6Three U.S. scientists who discovered key aspects of how cells and animals age and how cancer cells become immortal have won the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Elizabeth Blackburn of UC San Francisco, Carol W. Greider of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jack W. Szostak of Harvard Medical School will share the $1.4-million award for their discovery of telomeres, small sections of DNA that protect the integrity of cellular DNA as animals and most other organisms age. They also discovered telomerase, the enzyme that manufactures telomeres and gives cancer cells their eternal life.Ten women have won the Nobel in medicine in the past, but Monday's announcement marked the first time that two have shared the prize in the same year. The trio's discoveries "have added a new dimension to our understanding of the cell, shed light on disease mechanisms, and stimulated the development of potential new therapies," according to the Nobel citation....***And as far as mutant rabbits are concerned:You may recall Alba, a transgenic albino rabbit (with jellyfish gene), created in 2000.Alba - Wiki
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October 16th, 2009, 12:54 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: trackstar3 U.S. scientists share Nobel Prize in medicine - LA Times Oct 6it's biased. you have to be an american and a woman to get Nobel prize in medicine and physiology
 
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October 16th, 2009, 1:03 am

Yeah, it sure is top heavy that way...Nobel Laureates in Medicine2009 - Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, Jack W. Szostak2008 - Harald zur Hausen, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Luc Montagnier2007 - Mario R. Capecchi, Sir Martin J. Evans, Oliver Smithies2006 - Andrew Z. Fire, Craig C. Mello2005 - Barry J. Marshall, J. Robin Warren2004 - Richard Axel, Linda B. Buck2003 - Paul C. Lauterbur, Sir Peter Mansfield2002 - Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, John E. Sulston2001 - Leland H. Hartwell, Tim Hunt, Sir Paul Nurse2000 - Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard, Eric R. Kandel1999 - Günter Blobel1998 - Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, Ferid Murad1997 - Stanley B. Prusiner1996 - Peter C. Doherty, Rolf M. Zinkernagel1995 - Edward B. Lewis, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric F. Wieschaus1994 - Alfred G. Gilman, Martin Rodbell1993 - Richard J. Roberts, Phillip A. Sharp1992 - Edmond H. Fischer, Edwin G. Krebs1991 - Erwin Neher, Bert Sakmann1990 - Joseph E. Murray, E. Donnall Thomas1989 - J. Michael Bishop, Harold E. Varmus1988 - Sir James W. Black, Gertrude B. Elion, George H. Hitchings1987 - Susumu Tonegawa1986 - Stanley Cohen, Rita Levi-Montalcini1985 - Michael S. Brown, Joseph L. Goldstein1984 - Niels K. Jerne, Georges J.F. Köhler, César Milstein1983 - Barbara McClintock1982 - Sune K. Bergström, Bengt I. Samuelsson, John R. Vane1981 - Roger W. Sperry, David H. Hubel, Torsten N. Wiesel1980 - Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, George D. Snell1979 - Allan M. Cormack, Godfrey N. Hounsfield1978 - Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans, Hamilton O. Smith1977 - Roger Guillemin, Andrew V. Schally, Rosalyn Yalow1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg, D. Carleton Gajdusek1975 - David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco, Howard M. Temin1974 - Albert Claude, Christian de Duve, George E. Palade1973 - Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz, Nikolaas Tinbergen1972 - Gerald M. Edelman, Rodney R. Porter1971 - Earl W. Sutherland, Jr.1970 - Sir Bernard Katz, Ulf von Euler, Julius Axelrod1969 - Max Delbrück, Alfred D. Hershey, Salvador E. Luria1968 - Robert W. Holley, H. Gobind Khorana, Marshall W. Nirenberg1967 - Ragnar Granit, Haldan K. Hartline, George Wald1966 - Peyton Rous, Charles B. Huggins1965 - François Jacob, André Lwoff, Jacques Monod1964 - Konrad Bloch, Feodor Lynen1963 - Sir John Eccles, Alan L. Hodgkin, Andrew F. Huxley1962 - Francis Crick, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins1961 - Georg von Békésy1960 - Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Peter Medawar1959 - Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg1958 - George Beadle, Edward Tatum, Joshua Lederberg1957 - Daniel Bovet1956 - André F. Cournand, Werner Forssmann, Dickinson W. Richards1955 - Hugo Theorell1954 - John F. Enders, Thomas H. Weller, Frederick C. Robbins1953 - Hans Krebs, Fritz Lipmann1952 - Selman A. Waksman1951 - Max Theiler1950 - Edward C. Kendall, Tadeus Reichstein, Philip S. Hench1949 - Walter Hess, Egas Moniz1948 - Paul Müller1947 - Carl Cori, Gerty Cori, Bernardo Houssay1946 - Hermann J. Muller1945 - Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst B. Chain, Sir Howard Florey1944 - Joseph Erlanger, Herbert S. Gasser1943 - Henrik Dam, Edward A. Doisy1942 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section1941 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section1940 - The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section1939 - Gerhard Domagk1938 - Corneille Heymans1937 - Albert Szent-Györgyi1936 - Sir Henry Dale, Otto Loewi1935 - Hans Spemann1934 - George H. Whipple, George R. Minot, William P. Murphy1933 - Thomas H. Morgan1932 - Sir Charles Sherrington, Edgar Adrian1931 - Otto Warburg1930 - Karl Landsteiner1929 - Christiaan Eijkman, Sir Frederick Hopkins1928 - Charles Nicolle1927 - Julius Wagner-Jauregg1926 - Johannes Fibiger1925 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1924 - Willem Einthoven1923 - Frederick G. Banting, John Macleod1922 - Archibald V. Hill, Otto Meyerhof1921 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1920 - August Krogh1919 - Jules Bordet1918 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1917 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1916 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1915 - The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section1914 - Robert Bárány1913 - Charles Richet1912 - Alexis Carrel1911 - Allvar Gullstrand1910 - Albrecht Kossel1909 - Theodor Kocher1908 - Ilya Mechnikov, Paul Ehrlich1907 - Alphonse Laveran1906 - Camillo Golgi, Santiago Ramón y Cajal1905 - Robert Koch1904 - Ivan Pavlov1903 - Niels Ryberg Finsen1902 - Ronald Ross1901 - Emil von Behring***So I am surprised that you did not freak out over the animal cruelty inherent in inserting jellyfish DNA into a poor innocent rabbit.You must be sleepy this evening. Or else the crusade against American women winning prestigious prizes is more exciting to you.
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quantmeh
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October 16th, 2009, 1:13 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: trackstarSo I am surprised that you did not freak out over the animal cruelty inherent in inserting jellyfish DNA into a poor innocent rabbit.if the jellyfish was forcefully inserted into an animal, i'd call it rape, but in this case the animal seems to enjoy its unique glow. a friend of mine used to work for one of those companies, which make these animals glow. i had hard time understanding why it's needed
 
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October 16th, 2009, 1:28 am

It helps to prove that genes from one species can successfully express themselves in another. And specific to the jellyfish-rabbit combination:Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) In 1994 GFP was cloned. Now GFP is found in laboratories all over the world where it is used in every conceivable plant and animal. Flatworms, algae, E. coli and pigs have all been made to fluoresce with GFP. The importance of GFP was recognized in 2008 when the Nobel Committee awarded Osamu Shimomura, Marty Chalfie and Roger Tsien the Chemistry Nobel Prize "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP." Why is it so popular? Well, I like to think of GFP as the microscope of the twenty-first century. Using GFP we can see when proteins are made, and where they can go. This is done by joining the GFP gene to the gene of the protein of interest so that when the protein is made it will have GFP hanging off it. Since GFP fluoresces, one can shine light at the cell and wait for the distinctive green fluorescence associated with GFP to appear.
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October 16th, 2009, 1:40 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: trackstarIt helps to prove that genes from one species can successfully express themselves in another.that doesnt explain anything
 
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October 16th, 2009, 1:48 am

Love your use of the Socratic method, but it sure is time consuming for the rest of us.
 
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October 11th, 2010, 6:47 am

Genome-building from the bottom up - Nature Oct 10A simplified recipe for synthesizing genes aids synthetic biology."A fast method of making small synthetic genomes could be used to create vaccines. Take eight tiny DNA strands just 60 nucleotides long, combine with a master mix of enzymes and reagents, and incubate at 50ºC for an hour. By following this simple recipe, researchers could synthesize the genome of a mouse mitochondrion ? an organelle that acts as the energy factory for plant and animal cells ? in just five days.The technique gives synthetic biologists the simplest tool yet for designing and constructing gene sequences to make synthetic vaccines or pharmaceuticals, or to turn microbial cells into alternative energy sources. Earlier this year, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California, reported that they had built a complete bacterial genome from scratch and used it to 're-boot' a cell. The latest study, published online in Nature Methods today by a subset of those scientists, is based on a similar idea ? of stitching together a genome from smaller segments."...
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