Scientists Create Organism with Synthetic DNA
The live, lab-made microbe, which has a fully synthetic DNA code, is the first of its kind ever created.
The breakthrough was made by researchers at the laboratory of molecular biology at Cambridge University who redesigned the DNA of E Coli – a commonly found strain of bacteria.
The work involved making up to 18,000 edits to the genome, then chemically synthesizing the new genetic code and adding it to the bacterium piece by piece until it had replaced its natural genome.
The resulting creation is very similar to its natural counterpart but is entirely synthetic and survives on a much smaller set of genetic instructions.
The achievement represents a major step towards the creation of artificial organisms capable of performing various beneficial tasks within the human body such as defending against viruses.
“They have taken the field of synthetic genomics to a new level, not only successfully building the largest ever synthetic genome to date, but also making the most coding changes to a genome so far,” said synthetic biology researcher Tom Ellis of Imperial College London.