Discussing the Science of Big DNA
News Sep 23, 2013
In the latest issue of DECODED, the quarterly newsletter from Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), Dr Dan Gibson discusses the science of big DNA. Dr Gibson spent most of the last decade working at the J Craig Venter Institute, as well as Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), to develop, establish, and commercialize methods to take synthetic biology beyond its current limitations. In 2010 Dr Gibson and his team produced a DNA construct of 1.1 Mb, the largest synthetic DNA sequence to date, something which had not been achievable using traditional restriction/ligation methodologies. Instead, the team developed the Gibson Assembly™ Method, which uses a unique enzyme mix to assemble DNA elements with 20–80 overlapping bases. Once reamplified, the population, enriched with the correct sequence, is much faster to screen. The technology makes possible the creation of 10–30 kb sequences—the size of an entire biological pathway—in less than a week, and without cloning into E. coli. Dr Gibson and his team are currently looking at ways in which they can refine DNA assembly methods; improve large gene delivery to host cells; and develop methods that rely less on host organisms for copying their synthetic constructs.
Discovery Advances Efforts to Prevent Spread of CancerNews
Newly identified gene targets could be key to preventing the spread of cancer, new University of Alberta research has shown.
Streaming Protocol Makes Gene Data Sharing Future-ProofNews
The Large Scale Genomics Work Stream of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) has announced eight new implementations of its htsget protocol, a standard released in October 2017 for accessing large-scale genomic sequencing data online that does not depend on file transfers. The protocol and interoperability testing are reported in a paper released online this week in the journal Bioinformatics.
Antiviral Gene Vanquishes ZikaNews
It’s been known for years that humans and other mammals possess an antiviral gene called RSAD2 that prevents a remarkable range of viruses from multiplying. Now, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore, have discovered the secret to the gene’s success: The enzyme it codes for generates a compound that stops viruses from replicating. The newly discovered compound, described in today’s online edition of Nature, offers a novel approach for attacking many disease-causing viruses.