Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Creating Our Own E. Coli

What once seemed impossible is on the brink of being completed - reinventing the genetic code of life. Scientists at the lab of George Church at Harvard University have been working on this project, which involves 62,000 DNA changes in Escherichia coli. The process involves swapping out every CCC combination for a CCG combination in every gene. They also eliminated seven of the sixty-four total codons. Changing the genetic code can help in many ways. They do this by inserting the "fixed" chunks into E. coli one by one, to make sure no harmful change is made. So far, there have been no issues.

First, these changes could change the way the laboratory experiments work and it could open windows for new industrial chemicals. It could create an immunization to viruses. It could also allow for coding for a new, synthetic amino acid. Of course for all of the benefits of these experiments, there are some downfalls. There is a possibility that these new organisms may be toxic. If these were to be introduced into the environment, there is no saying what they could do. There is also the question of ethics - many people believe we should not have the "power" to create new organisms.

The scientists involved in this experiment claim they are approximately 63% done with the testing; they expect the hardest parts are yet to come. There is still a lot to be found about this new E. coli, and that information will not become clear until the experiment has been completed and tested. However, this is still impressive because this is the farthest any scientist has come to reinventing the genetic code of life.

1 comment:

  1. Creating our own E Coli is a very big approach. E Coli lives usually in the intestines of humans and animals and are usually harmless. Creating our own E Coli can lead to many different opportunities. The main idea I get out of reading this article is that hey, we are creating our own e coli. God knows what we can do next. Maybe one day we can perfectly cure cancer, maybe one day we can create cures for other untreatable diseases. When I look at something like this, it gives me such excitement to know that our technology is so advanced that one day we can cure life threatening diseases or make drugs to cure them.