Scientists creates world’s first stable semi-synthetic organism

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), US have created world’s first stable semi-synthetic organism, a single-celled bacterium with an expanded genetic code

The semi-synthetic organism is the modified E.coli bacteria created by introducing DNA molecules that are not found in nature in a common bacterium.

How the new bacterium was created?
  • Life’s natural genetic code only contains four natural bases- adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), thymine (T). These bases pair forms two base pairs in the DNA ladder.
  • The newly created bacterium has two human-created X and Y bases that grow and divide, much like the four natural bases. This single-celled organism can hold on to the synthetic base pair as it divides.
  • The human-created X and Y base pair was dropped over time in the bacterium that limited the ways the it can use the additional information possessed in their DNA.
  • For this, researchers had optimised a tool called a nucleotide transporter, which brings the materials necessary for the unnatural base pair to be copied across the cell membrane.
  • They discovered that modification to the transporter, made it much easier for the organism to grow and divide while holding on to X and Y.
  • Researchers used gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to design the synthetic organism to see a genetic sequence without X and Y as a foreign invader.
Potential Applications
  • This research gives scientists an opportunity to ‘create organisms with wholly unnatural attributes and traits that are not found elsewhere in nature.
  • In future, it can help in creation of microbes capable of manufacturing entirely new proteins, which can provide leads to new medicines and nanotechnology breakthroughs.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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Comments

  • kavya
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    wonderful..! but slowly this may lead to destruction of life…!