Researchers Close in on Building Synthetic Organisms
By ranina sanglap | November 9, 2011 10:13 AM EST
Scientists at the University of Nottingham are embarking on a new project to build a synthetic cell-equivalent of a computer operating system that could potentially lead to building a new organism.
The project, Towards a Biological Cell Operating System, aims to develop a re-programmable cells that could become the foundation for a new organism that can perform tasks that normal organisms can not do.
"We are looking at creating a cell's equivalent to a computer operating system in such a way that a given group of cells could be seamlessly re-programmed to perform any function without needing to modifying its hardware," said Professor Natalio Krasnogor of the University's School of Computer Science.
"We are talking about a highly ambitious goal leading to a fundamental breakthrough that will, -ultimately, allow us to rapidly prototype, implement and deploy living entities that are completely new and do not appear in nature, adapting them so they perform new useful functions."
The new technology could be a leap forward in Synthetic Biology. With this tech, scientists can start to grow new sources of food and even new organs for transplant patients. The project is actually a bridging of various studies like biology, computer science and chemistry. The project has already attracted scientists from those fields to work with Professor Krasnogor. The group will start working on programming e.coli bacteria.
Professor Krosnogor said that this project will develop new ways for scientists to easily reprogram the behavior of individual cells.
"If we succeed with this AUdACiOuS project, in five years time, we will be programming bacterial cells in the computer and compiling and storing its program into these new cells so they can readily execute them," he said in a statement.
The project will also mark the first time scientists have attempted to program a larger organism, previously scientists have only programmed individual cells. The applications for the new technology are varied. New microorganisms can be created to clean the environment by capturing carbon from fossil fuels or removing contaminants, e.g. arsenic from water sources.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- Lunch with the Gods: Pope Francis Eats with Vatican Workers in Cafeteria
Join the Conversation
- NASA Astronomers Unearths Mysterious Signal That 'Could Not Be Explained By Known Physics' [Watch Video]
- Richard Norris' Successful Face Transplant Lands Him in GQ Cover [WATCH VIDEOS]
- Luxury Cruise: A 'Once In A Lifetime' Trip To Experience Environment Devastation in the Arctic
- New Technology to Build Invisible Material Using Light: Study Says
- Breaking Discovery: Industrial Pollution Reached South Pole by 19th Century
- Transfer News: FC Barcelona, Man Utd to Compete for Juan Cuadrado's Signature as Fiorentina Reveal Willingness to Sell
- Hilary Duff's New Music Video Chasing the Sun Goes Viral on YouTube [WATCH VIDEO]
- LeBron James to Return to Miami, Face Heat on Christmas Day 2014
- Shanghai Stock Exchange Will Not Extend Trading Hours
- Qatar's Surging Real Estate Prices Won't Affect Thriving Economy – Report