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Scientists 'Boot Up' a Bacterial Cell With a Synthetic Genome
ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — Scientists have developed the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome. They now hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.
See Also: Plants & Animals BacteriaBiology Microbes and More Genetics Cell Biology Microbiology The study will be published online by the journal Science, at the Science Express website, on May 20. The research team, led by Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute, has already chemically synthesized a bacterial genome, and it has transplanted the genome of one bacterium to another. Now, the scientists have put both methodstogether, to create what they call a "synthetic cell," although only its genome is synthetic.
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Civil Engine Monitor Tra Scanning electron micrographs of M. mycoides JCVI-syn1. Samples were post-fixed in osmium tetroxide, dehydrated and critical point dried with CO2 , then visualized using a HitachiSU6600 scanning electron microscope at 2.0 keV. (Credit: Electron micrographs were provided by Tom Deerinck and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at the University of California at San Diego)
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Reference Computational genomics Vector (biology) Microorganism "This is the first synthetic cell that's Genetically modified been made, andwe call it synthetic organism because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer," said Venter. "This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind]," he said. For example, the researchers are planning todesign algae that can capture carbon dioxide and make new hydrocarbons that could go into refineries. They are also working on ways to speed up vaccine production. Making new chemicals or food ingredients and cleaning up water are other possible benefits, according to Venter. In the Science study, the researchers synthesized the genome of the bacterium M. mycoides and added DNA sequences that"watermark" the genome to distinguish it from a natural one. Because current machines can only assemble relatively short strings of DNA letters at a time, the researchers inserted the shorter sequences into yeast, whose DNA-repair enzymes linked the strings together. They then transferred the medium-sized strings into E. coli and back into yeast. After three rounds of assembly, the researchers hadproduced a genome over a million base pairs long. The scientists then transplanted the synthetic M. mycoides
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