Most Intricate Synthetic Biology Circuit Created
October 10, 2012 10:16 PM
comment(s) - last by
New genetic circuits created using genes found in Salmonella
This circuit allows cells to find the right microenvironment through environmental changes like glucose, pH, temperature and osmolarity
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed the most intricate
synthetic biology circuit
Synthetic biology circuits are used to perform functions within cells, such as detecting changing environmental factors like temperature. The problem is that the components in a cell are all mashed together, and creating a complex biological circuit requires that genetic components don't interfere with one another. In other words, researchers don't want proteins that control one part of their synthetic circuit to mess with other parts of the circuit.
To get around this, the team created a synthetic circuit that doesn't interfere with other circuits. They did this by studying the bacterium that causes salmonella, which has a cellular pathway that monitors and
controls proteins in human cells
. The team then studied 60 other versions of this pathway in other bacteria, and learned that most of the proteins were different enough to not interfere with one another. Clearly, the answer was to expand the number of possible circuits to create components that won't mess with each other.
When expanding the number of circuits, the team then discovered that there was a small amount of "crosstalk" between some circuit components, so this had to be reduced for the complex circuit to work. This was achieved through directed evolution, which is a trial-and-error process that involves the mutation of a gene to create thousands like it and testing them for a desired trait. The best of these genes continue testing until the gene is perfected.
The end result is the most complex synthetic biology
circuit that uses four sensors
for different molecules. It is layered so that inputs and outputs are proteins that control the next circuit, and they're capable of monitoring the cell's changing environment.
"If a cell needs to find the right microenvironment -- glucose, pH, temperature and osmolarity -- individually they're not very specific, but getting all four of those things really narrows it down," said Christopher Voigt, study author and associate professor of biological engineering at MIT.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Morality police
10/11/2012 11:31:51 AM
Define "living". In the same vein as the argument "A chicken is an egg's way of making another egg", is a human a synthetic gene complex's way of making another synthetic gene complex? Anyway, only PETA is making the "we should not enslave another living creature" argument.
On the other hand, if it gains sentience we'll be obligated to kill it. Xenophobic priorities, ya know. We're the top of the brain pyramid in this corner of the universe.
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
Protein Coating Tricks Cancer Cells into Accepting Chemotherapy Drugs
September 13, 2011, 4:18 PM
Researchers Make Breakthrough in Synthetic Circuits
October 5, 2009, 10:02 AM
Tiny, 3D-Printed Batteries Power New League of Small Devices
June 19, 2013, 1:37 PM
NASA Introduces Asteroid Grand Challenge to Protect Earth
June 18, 2013, 8:48 PM
NSA Leaker May be Killed in Drone Strike Says Ron Paul
June 17, 2013, 11:18 AM
Airbus A350 XWB "MSN1" Has Successful First Flight
June 17, 2013, 11:02 AM
Study: Gamers Have Better Visual, Decision-Making Skills Than Non-Gamers
June 12, 2013, 11:26 AM
Airbus A350 XWB to Take First Flight Friday, Looks to Challenge Boeing Dreamliner
June 11, 2013, 8:20 PM
Most Popular Articles
Source: Don't Worry, NSA Spies on "99 Percent" of Americans' Locations, Call Records
June 14, 2013, 3:57 PM
Xbox Chief: If You Can't Get Online, Don't Buy an Xbox One
June 12, 2013, 9:57 AM
GigaHertz Wars 2.0? AMD Releases World's First 5.0 GHz FX Processor
June 11, 2013, 3:16 PM
Former Palm CEO: Selling Palm to HP was a Waste
June 12, 2013, 10:19 AM
Report: Apple to Release Larger iPhone Screens, Cheaper iPhone for $99
June 13, 2013, 9:41 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Lumosity: Does it Work?
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information