"Angela Belcher programs viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, she's produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells"
"Synthetic biology which is inspired by “plug-and-play” concept is supported by standardized biobricks and also computational tools for analysis and optimization. Here are bio-apps collections for you. Personally Tinkercell and UNAFold are favorite.
"Many genetic diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), can be treated simply by correcting a disrupted reading frame. We show that genome editing with transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), without a repair template, can efficiently correct the reading frame and restore the expression of a functional dystrophin protein that is mutated in DMD. TALENs were engineered to mediate highly efficient gene editing at exon 51 of the dystrophin gene. This led to restoration of dystrophin protein expression in cells from Duchenne patients, including skeletal myoblasts and dermal fibroblasts that were reprogrammed to the myogenic lineage by MyoD. Finally, exome sequencing of cells with targeted modifications of the dystrophin locus showed no TALEN-mediated off-target changes to the protein-coding regions of the genome, as predicted by in silico target site analysis."
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
This is the essence of programmable biology. Real gene therapy (modifying the genome) used to remedy a purely genetic disease.
"Here, we propose that the emergence of life may correspond to a physical transition associated with a shift in the causal structure, where information gains direct and context-dependent causal efficacy over the matter in which it is instantiated. Such a transition may be akin to more traditional physical transitions (e.g. thermodynamic phase transitions), with the crucial distinction that determining which phase (non-life or life) a given system is in requires dynamical information and therefore can only be inferred by identifying causal architecture. We discuss some novel research directions based on this hypothesis, including potential measures of such a transition that may be amenable to laboratory study, and how the proposed mechanism corresponds to the onset of the unique mode of (algorithmic) information processing characteristic of living systems."
Using an innocuous bacterial virus, bioengineers have created a biological mechanism to send genetic messages from cell to cell. The system greatly increases the complexity and amount of data that can be communicated between cells and could lead to greater control of biological functions within cell communities.
The novelty of the system lies in the compartmentalization of the circuit where all basic logic gates are implemented in independent single cells that can then be cultured together to perform complex logic functions.
There has been substantial work on using DNA strands to perform specific computational tasks. This project explores how to define a low-level DNA machine language, which can be used as a target for compiling higher-level programs.
With a milliseconds long flash of blue light, Yale University researchers regulated a critical type of signaling molecule within cell membranes, another illustration of the power of light-based techni...