Can we create a new bacteria or virus in the lab?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Saint, May 4, 2017.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Can we create a new bacteria or virus in the lab?
    I mean using amino acid to create from sketch.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Do you mean 'from scratch'?

    No.

    Simple as they may seem to be, the technology is way beyond our ability.
     
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  5. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    But I bet someone is working on it

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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. It's already been done. Or at least the DNA code necessary for functioning cells has been synthesized from chemicals and inserted into existing cells, taking them over. (Like installing a new operating system in a computer.)

    The leader in this seems to be the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego. In 2010 they synthesized the DNA for an entire bacterial genome out of chemicals and inserted it into a different species of bacterium whose original DNA was removed. The synthetic genome booted up and took over the cells, which succeeded in reproducing. In this first success, the synthesized DNA was a copy of an existing bacterium's DNA. It was the largest molecule ever synthesized in a lab.

    Then they set about snipping genes out of this synthetic genome, based on their imperfect understanding of what the genes did. They would insert the trimmed-down genome into bacteria and tried to boot it up. If it still worked, they snipped some more genes. After a long trial and error process, they ended up with a still-functioning bacterial genome with only 473 genes, believed to be the smallest genome in a living reproducing cell. They call it their 'minimal cell'. Genetically, it's new. It isn't identical to anything in nature. (One wonders what capabilities the cell has lost.)

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100526/full/465406a.html

    http://www.nature.com/news/minimal-cell-raises-stakes-in-race-to-harness-synthetic-life1.19633

    http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell/overview/

    http://www.jcvi.org/cms/press/press...-by-j-craig-venter-institute-researcher/home/

    http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/minimal-cell/overview/
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  8. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Can we modify human gene so that everyone is Einstein?
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,478
    No.

    Yawn.

    Next?
     
  10. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Agree

    Is there still a thread about epigenetics where the theme is genes passing on learnt memory

    If Einstein had spent all day in bed doing nothing he would have been a bum

    He became THE Einstein by education and thinking and being inquisitive

    Not traits in genes

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  11. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    What is meant synthetic bacteria ? would you exactly say the type of DNA was synthesized. Was an other cell mechanism used without DNA and an other DNA implanted ?
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,659
    Bacteria whose DNA (including all of the cell's genes) was originally synthesized from chemicals in the lab. After it is manufactured, that synthetic DNA was inserted into bacterial cells whose existing DNA has been removed, and if everything is successful the cells replicate it and divide. That more or less converts the host cells into cells of a different bacterial species whose DNA they now contain.

    In their first successful attempt they synthesized the genome of Mycoplasma mycoides, a species of bacterium whose genome had already been sequenced and whose information was available in the gene-sequence databases. Then this lab-manufactured synthetic copy of a Mycoplasma mycoides genome was inserted into a different bacterium of a different species whose native DNA was removed, booted it up so that the bacterium metabolized and reproduced, and effectively changed its species. (Just from a chemistry standpoint, it was the largest molecule ever synthesized in the lab.)

    http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell/overview/

    Then they started snipping genes out of their synthetic Mycoplasma mycoides genomes to see what was and wasn't essential to the cell's survival (in laboratory conditions, maybe not in the wild). That meant a trial-and-error process that took years, in which genes were removed, the results were inserted into cells, and if they metabolized and reproduced, more genes were then removed.

    The result was what they call their 'minimal cell' whose 473 genes seems to be the smallest genome in a successfully living and reproducing cell. The 'minimal cell' doesn't correspond to anything in nature and isn't the copy of anything. It's a totally new, laboratory created species of bacteria.

    http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/minimal-cell/overview/

    Yes.

    What these molecular geneticists are basically doing is treating DNA like computer code and the genome like a cell's operating system, and then trying to put themselves in the position of being able to write the code themselves.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  13. karenmansker HSIRI Banned

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    638
    from 'sketch' ?. . . . .in the US we say" from 'scratch', perhaps yours is the same meaning . . . .see Michael above . . . . IMO, the OP . . . . yes!
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,659
    I believe that intelligence has a strong genetic component. If that's true, then it might someday be possible to genetically modify children so that they have enhanced intelligence. I have no idea what the upper bound might be for that.

    Of course, I also believe that there isn't any such thing as intelligence, strictly speaking. What people have instead of a single ability called 'intelligence' is a whole host of cognitive (and non-cognitive) abilities. The are mathematical abilities, several kinds of natural language abilities including abilities in informal conceptual reasoning, creative imagination abilities, artistic talents, abilities regarding intuiting the emotional state of other people, abilities to control one's body athletically, and perhaps many more. Most people have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. I'd guess that there may be multiple genes involved and they may interact in complex ways. So I don't think that developing a genetic intelligence enhancement technique will be easy.

    Autism might be associated with high mathematical ability and there are always the idiot-savants, where things go seriously wrong with how the talents balance. If we start monkeying around with intelligence genes, there will probably be failures as well as successes.

    Regarding Einstein, I think that his success was as much a function of opportunity as brilliance. People had been working on the problems he addressed for years, many of the ideas he used had already been proposed by others in fragmentary form, and what he did so successfully was rearrange the existing conceptual game-pieces. For example, imagining the speed of light as constant in all frames, then imagining what else would have to vary (distance, time, etc.) in order to make physics stay consistent.

    So if we want to create a horde of new Einsteins, we would need to enhance not only the relevant aspects of their intelligence (without creating serious defects elsewhere in their psychologies), but also supply them with problems at the cusp of being solved where those enhanced talents can most effectively be put to work.

    (Einstein spent many of his later years futilely banging his formidable intelligence against problems less ready to be solved given what was known then.)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  15. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    Have you read right , http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell/overview/ ) I don't what you are saying they made a synthetic bacteria
    In 2003, JCVI successfully synthesized a small virus that infects bacteria. By 2008, the JCVI team was able to synthesize a small bacterial genome; however they were unable to activate that genome in a cell at that time.

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    Colonies of the transformed Mycoplasma mycoides bacterium. Image Credit: J. Craig Venter Institute.


    Now, this scientific team headed by Drs. Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith and Clyde Hutchison have achieved the final step in their quest to create the first synthetic bacterial cell. In a publication in Science magazine, Daniel Gibson, Ph.D. and a team of 23 additional researchers outline the steps to synthesize a 1.08 million base pair Mycoplasma mycoides genome, constructed from four bottles of chemicals that make up DNA. This synthetic genome has been "booted up" in a cell to create the first cell controlled completely by a synthetic genome.


    Second your site note there is a cloning

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    I think you are over expression the work .
     
  16. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Researchers found 69 genes that correlate with higher educational attainment — and three of those also also appear to have a direct link to slightly better cognitive abilities.

    http://www.nature.com/news/smart-genes-prove-elusive-1.15858

    Deep in this fascinating study it appears that

    One of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition1 has turned up inconclusive findings, and experts concede that they will probably need to scour the genomes of more than 1 million people to confidently identify even a small genetic influence on intelligence and other behavioural traits

    and

    The three variants the researchers identified were each responsible for an average of 0.3 points on an IQ test

    and

    those variants have about one-twentieth the influence on intelligence as do gene variants linked to other complex traits such as height

    Best read the link, which isn't to long, to form your own ideas about genetic influences on intelligence

    which by this study, if I am reading it correctly, is very small and inside the margin of statistical error

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