Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Yale and Harvard Researchers Rewrite an Entire Genome

Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists recoded the entire genome of an organism and improved a bacterium’s ability to resist viruses.

“This is the first time the genetic code has been fundamentally changed,” said Farren Isaacs, assistant professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale and co-senior author of the research published Oct. 18 in the journal Science. “Creating an organism with a new genetic code has allowed us to expand the scope of biological function in a number of powerful ways.”

The creation of a genomically recoded organism raises the possibility that researchers might be able to retool nature and create potent new forms of proteins to accomplish a myriad purposes — from combating disease to generating new classes of materials.

The research — headed by Isaacs and co-author George Church of Harvard Medical School — is a product of years of studies in the emerging field of synthetic biology, which seeks to re-design natural biological systems for useful purposes.

In this case, the researchers changed fundamental rules of biology.

Proteins, which are encoded by DNA’s instructional manual and are made up of 20 amino acids, carry out many important functional roles in the cell. Amino acids are encoded by the full set of 64 triplet combinations of the four nucleic acids that comprise the backbone of DNA. These triplets (sets of three nucleotides) are called codons and are the genetic alphabet of life.

Isaacs, Jesse Rinehart of Yale, and the Harvard researchers explored whether they could expand upon nature’s handywork by substituting different codons or letters throughout the genome and then reintroducing entirely new letters to create amino acids not found in nature. This work marks the first time that the genetic code has been completely changed across an organism’s genome.

In the new study, the researchers working with E. coli swapped a codon and eliminated its natural stop sign that terminates protein production. The new genome enabled the bacteria to resist viral infection by limiting production of natural proteins used by viruses to infect cells. Isaacs — working with Marc Lajoie of Harvard, Alexis Rovner of Yale, and colleagues — then converted the “stop” codon into one that encodes new amino acids and inserted it into the genome in a plug-and-play fashion. 

The work now sets the stage to convert the recoded bacterium into a living foundry, capable of biomanufacturing new classes of  “exotic” proteins and polymers. These new molecules could lay the foundation for a new generation of materials, nanostructures, therapeutics, and drug delivery vehicles, Isaacs said.

“Since the genetic code is universal, it raises the prospect of recoding genomes of other organisms,” Isaacs said. “This has tremendous implications in the biotechnology industry and could open entirely new avenues of research and applications.”

Other participating researchers from Yale University are Hans Aerni and Adrian Haimovich.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Studies Explore Science of Cardiovascular Diseases
Two studies highlight how basic science research insights are key to future treatment breakthroughs.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Fighting Cancer with Sticky Nanoparticles
Treatment that uses bioadhesive nanoparticles drug carriers proved more effective than conventional treatments for certain cancers.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Small Molecules Lead to a Big Change in Reaction Outcomes
Scientists have changed the behaviour of a group of molecules involved in carbon-oxygen bond synthesis.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Effects Of Maternal Smoking Continue Long After Birth
Yale study shows that maternal smoking is linked to behavioural changes.
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Reduced Immune Response Causes Flu Deaths in Older Adults
Yale study suggests that immune response to flu causes death in older people, not the virus.
Friday, April 22, 2016
CNS Inflammation: A Pathway and Possible Drug Target
Scientists have long known that the central nervous system (CNS) has a remarkable ability to limit excessive inflammation in the presence of antigens or injury, but how it works has been unclear.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Nanogel That Delivers One-Two Punch To Cancer Heads To Clinical Trial
Yale scientists create a nanogel which can be used to deliver multiple drugs to cancer cells.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Chaos, Hope, And The Lupus Butterfly Theory
The lupus butterfly theory suggests that antibodies that attack DNA in lupus may be sources of both chaos and hope.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Life-Extending Hormone Bolsters Immunity
A hormone that extends lifespan in mice by 40% is produced by specialized cells in the thymus gland, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Novel Technique for Kidney Research Developed
To better understand how the treatment leads to kidney damage, and possibly prevent it, a team of researchers at Yale School of Medicine developed a new 3D-imaging technique to peer deep into these vital organs.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Shedding Light On Century-Old Biochemical Mystery
Yale scientists have used magnetic resonance measurements to show how glucose is metabolized in yeast to answer the puzzle of the “Warburg Effect.”
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Gene Testing Now Allows Precision Medicine for Thoracic Aneurysms
Researchers at the Aortic Institute at Yale have tested the genomes of more than 100 patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms, a potentially lethal condition, and provided genetically personalized care.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Creating More Potent Vaccines
Yale researchers uncovered a new role for a type of immune cell, known as regulatory T cells, in promoting long-term immunity.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Yale Team finds why BRCA Gene Resists Cancer Treatment
The University researchers have discovered why a key molecular assistant is crucial to the function of the BRCA2 gene.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Atmosphere Acidity Minimised to Preindustrial Levels
Sheet ice study shows acidic pollution of the atmosphere has now almost returned to preindustrial levels.
New Therapeutic Target for Crohn’s Disease
A promising new target for drugs that treat IBD has been identified along with a possible biomarker for IBD severity.
Culex Mosquitoes Do Not Transmit Zika
A study of the Culex species mosquito appears to show that the species does not transmit Zika virus.
Uncovering Water Bear Resilience
A protein identified in water bears can protect DNA of human cells from lethal doses of radiation damage.
“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
Researchers Find Fungus-Fighting Compound
A compound has been identifed that blocks growth of a fungus responsible for lung infections and allergic reactions.
Analysing 10,000 Cells Simultaneously
New techniquethat traps 10,000 cells on a single chip has potential for cancer screening for individuals.
Potential of New Insect Control Traits in Agriculture
Researchers have discovered a protein that shows promise as an alternate corn rootworm control mechanism.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!